Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday night that an officer wounded by a gunman was "very, very lucky" after he was shot at seven times.
The officer, whose name was not being released, was wearing a ballistic vest that stopped some of the rounds after the gun battle broke out at the West Bureau Traffic lobby in Mid-City, police said.
The wounded officer was being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where Beck joined other officers who had gathered at the facility after the shooting to show their support for their wounded colleague.
"He is in great spirits," Beck told reporters. He described the officer as a "remarkable young man" who was "very, very lucky."
"But his luck was augmented by his courage," the chief added. He credited the officer with opening fire on the gunman and saving his life and that of another officer.
The station is often quiet at night, but a community meeting with about 35 people was underway in a room near the lobby when the gunman began firing, police said.
The suspect, who was armed with a handgun, fired multiple rounds at the officer. Several of the bullets struck the officer's ballistic vest, but one round went through his left arm, Cmdr. Dennis Kato said.
The suspect was wounded and in critical condition after two officers returned the gunfire inside the West Bureau Traffic lobby on Venice Boulevard near La Brea Avenue in Mid-City. The suspect said something along the lines about having a complaint before he opened fire, police said.
A bomb squad was at the station, which also houses the LAPD's Wilshire Division, and was checking a vehicle that may have belonged to the shooter.
Kato said investigators were trying to piece together details on the suspect and how he traveled to the station.
"We don't know who he is, where he came from," Kato said. "We don't even have a name on him at this point."
Terrance Jones, 52, lives across from the police station and said the place has seen its share of problems, including custody fights, scuffles, arguments and car accidents.
Despite the commotion, he and other neighbors said, they feel safe in their Mid-City neighborhood.