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Suspect in LAPD station shooting charged with attempted murder

Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeCrimeLos Angeles Police Department

A 29-year-old man accused of wounding a Los Angeles police officer after he opened fire at a Mid-City police station was charged Thursday with two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer.

Daniel Christoph Yealu, of Los Angeles, also faces gun allegations in connection with Monday night's shooting at LAPD's Wilshire Division station, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said. If convicted, prosecutors said he faces 75 years to life in state prison.

Yealu, who was critically wounded by police, remains hospitalized and has not entered a plea.

Authorities allege Yealu walked into the Venice Boulevard station about 8:30 p.m. Monday, approached the front desk and fired a Glock pistol at the two officers there. One of the officers was injured before the pair returned fire.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Yealu was carrying extra magazines and had a "heavily modified" AK-47 in his car parked outside. Authorities later found what Beck described as an "armament" of high-powered weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition at Yealu's home.

"By the grace of God, the suspect did not come in with the assault weapons that he has had access to," Beck said.

Investigators are still trying to determine what prompted the attack, saying only that, before he began shooting, Yealu told the officers he had a complaint.

LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said Yealu had applied to become an LAPD officer but was rejected. The city personnel department said he sought the job in 2009 and had passed a written test.

Yealu's father said in an interview that he learned of the allegations against his son when detectives showed up at his door Tuesday morning. He said that although he didn't talk to his son often — the pair last spoke by phone in October — he noticed no warning signs.

Danny Yealu, 58, said that his son had been involved with gangs when he was a teenager and was picked up once by police in Inglewood. But, he said, his son told him he had turned his life around, that he was making good money as a security guard and had applied to a police academy.

State records showed Yealu obtained a license to work as a security guard in 2005, and got a firearm permit in 2007. But both expired Dec. 31, 2013, after he failed to pay necessary fees, a Department of Consumer Affairs spokeswoman said.

Officials believe the violence Monday night could have been a lot worse had the gunman not been subdued quickly — about 20 people were attending a community meeting just feet from where the shots were fired.

"The belief was he was going to go a lot further than just the two people at the front desk," Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said.

The wounded officer, a seven-year veteran of the force, was released from the hospital Tuesday night, LAPD officials said.

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kate.mather@latimes.com

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