The shooting of two Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputies in an apparent ambush prompted a manhunt, reaction from the president and protests outside the hospital where the wounded deputies were being treated on Saturday night.
The deputies were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station, around 7pm and not far from the the Compton sheriff’s station. They were able to radio for help, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. The department shared video of the shooting, showing a person open fire through the passenger-side window.
“The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” the department said.
The video sparked thousands of reactions, including from President Donald Trump, who responded, “Animals that must be hit hard!”
The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy both underwent surgery, Villanueva said. Both graduated from the academy 14 months ago, he added.
Villanueva, whose department has come under fire during protests over racism and police brutality, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the officers.
“It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time,” he said.
Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated.
“To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling ‘We hope they die’ referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL,” the sheriff’s department tweeted. “People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.”
Speaking to CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, LA mayor Eric Garcetti said: “Of course there’s an important conversation going on about policing in this country, but these are folks who put their lives on the line for us, and we will find justice for them. And I pray for their recovery … and I hope that everybody listening today will unify”.
A radio reporter near the protest was taken into custody, KABC-TV reported. The sheriff’s department later tweeted that the reporter interfered with the arrest of a male protester.
“The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person,” the department stated.
Capt Kent Wegener said officers were blanketing the area in search of a suspect seen on the video opening fire with a pistol.
“We have a very, very generic description,” he said.