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LAPD shooting: Witness recalls terror as gunfire broke out

Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeLos Angeles Police DepartmentCedars-Sinai Medical CenterEric Garcetti

Daphne Brogdon, a member of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council, was at the group's monthly meeting at the Los Angeles Police Department's West Bureau community room on Monday night when the gunfire broke out. 

"I heard shots," she said in an interview. "They were unmistakable."

The gunfire broke out about 8:30 p.m. after a gunman walked into the Mid-City building and opened fire. An officer was shot at seven times and was wounded, police said.

The wounded officer, along with another officer, returned fire and struck the gunman, police said. He was in critical condition late Monday.

The officer was in stable condition and in "good spirits," Chief Charlie Beck told reporters. The officer was wearing a ballistic vest, which stopped some of the rounds.

Police did not release the wounded officer's name but did say he was a seven-year veteran. The other officer involved in the shooting was a woman and has been on the force for a little more than four years.

Late Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he spoke to the wounded officer in a phone call. "I wish him a speedy recovery," the mayor said in a statement.

Brogdon recalled the shots being fired. It sounded like there were four, at first, she said. Then she heard return gunfire and heard probably 10 shots total. She said the shooter had walked down the hall right outside the door to the room where the council was meeting. 

After the shots began, Brogdon jumped up, ran to a lectern and dove beneath it, trying to shield herself.

"I hid, and everyone else just hit the ground," she said. "Everyone was trying to be really quiet, and the shots continued." 

One of her colleagues on the neighborhood council, a mother like herself, was next to her. 

"We were just holding hands, looking at each other saying, 'Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.'" 

Brogdon said she was reluctant to look up when she heard people entering the room but saw that it was police officers checking on them. She was terrified it was the shooter entering. 

When she did look up, she saw that a bullet had come into the room, not far from her. 

Brogdon said many of the neighborhood council members were still at the station late Monday night in a roll call room, where they had been moved for safety.

Police told them they were scanning for bombs and explosives and checking for booby traps around the building, she said. A lot of the council members were parked nearby and didn't yet feel safe to leave, she said at about 10 p.m. 

"I don't want to leave," she said. "I don't want to go anywhere. I don't feel safe." 

"My stomach hurts," she said. "My head hurts. I'm very relieved I'm going to go home to my children, but you're a sitting duck. It's just that vulnerability -- if somebody crazy wants to come in with a gun, you're a sitting duck. I'm shaken. We're all shaken."

Brogdon has a 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. She talked to her husband Monday night and told him she didn't want them to know about the shooting.

She already doesn't let them watch the news. When the shooting was happening, she said, "I just kept thinking, I can't leave my kids, I can't leave my kids." 

Brogdon said that after the shooting, the neighborhood council still voted on three motions before they adjourned. She laughed. "The dedication of the neighborhood council," she said. She joked that she hoped this didn't make people not want to join the council now.

At the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where the wounded officer was being treated, Beck told reporters that the officer 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 the other officer.

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