The shooting ambush of two undercover detectives outside the Wilshire Division station Tuesday morning “was a blatant attempt to assassinate two of the people who protect this community,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.
Police stations across Los Angeles beefed up security after the detectives were fired upon. The officers are in “good spirits” and have returned to duty after suffering only minor injuries, Beck said at the start of a weekly address to the police commission.
The manhunt was continuing in Mid-City. All of the LAPD’s K-9 units were dispatched to assist in the search, along with four canine teams from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.
Three men detained during the search have been released, said Cmdr. Andy Smith. A fourth was still being questioned.
The men were detained during a frantic 25-block search in Mid-City after the two burglary detectives driving an unmarked vehicle were shot at as they waited to enter the LAPD’s Wilshire substation parking lot at 4861 West Venice Blvd. about 4:30 a.m.
The detectives returned fire but the suspect or suspects got away.
More than a dozen shots were fired during the gun battle. One detective suffered a minor head injury either from a bullet or shattered glass and the other detective suffered a minor injury to his hand, officials said. Both detectives were treated at a hospital and released and were aiding in the search. The two, whose names have not been released, have been on the force for 11 and 20 years, respectively, and were returning from an assignment, police said.
Given the location of the shooting, police said they believed the shooter knew he was targeting police.
“They knew that these were police officers or police employees,” Smith said. “Anybody willing to take on two police officers outside a police station is obviously a dangerous individual.”
As the search continued into its fourth hour Tuesday, officers began tightening the perimeter. The area between Venice and Washington boulevards and West and Redondo boulevards remained shut down by police.
Police searched the area near 18th Street and Saint Elmo Drive after an officer spotted someone running. The manhunt was expected to cause traffic delays in the area at least until noon.
The response to Tuesday morning’s shooting was swift. A tactical alert was issued and a security perimeter established. Some 200 officers were involved.
LAPD officers were visible outside main headquarters in downtown Los Angeles and marked cars sat on perimeter streets.