Three released in connection with shooting of two LAPD officers

Three people held in the shooting of 2 LAPD officers have been released

Three people who were detained after gunmen opened fire on two plainclothes Los Angeles police officers were released Monday afternoon and police officials pledged to continue investigating the shooting.

The three people -- who were not identified -- were released at 2:41 p.m., Officer Sara Faden said.

The trio were detained amid an intensive search Sunday by dozens of police officers and the LAPD's SWAT unit that covered several blocks near 65th Street and Broadway. 

At the South L.A. intersection about 5:45 p.m., police say, two plainclothes officers assigned to the 77th Street Division narcotics section were driving in an unmarked car when they were fired at.

It did not appear the officers were caught in an exchange of gunfire.

Both suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. Paramedics removed bullet fragments from one officer’s arms.

The extensive search of the neighborhood ended about 12:30 a.m. Monday, but investigators continued canvassing the area for shell casings and other evidence.

“These [officers] were in plainclothes, in an area known for gang activity, narcotics sales and distribution,” Officer Jack Richter said.

“Now whether they were targeted as officers, that’ll be determined. When you’re a gangster and you're on the corner and you’re illegally selling narcotics and a car drives up and two people get out -- that’s going to cause some problems.”

Junior Moore, 54, said he was eating at Hercules Burgers at Broadway and Gage Avenue when the gunfire erupted.

“I heard like 20 shots, and then a bunch of police sirens,” Moore said.

Residents were told to shelter in place while police searched for gunmen. Those who could not enter the area gathered behind police tape, snapping photos as throngs of police cars arrived on scene and officers brought out SWAT gear, including long black rifles.

Priscilla Gutierrez, 17, who moved to the neighborhood two weeks ago, said she has heard gunfire erupt in the blocks near her house multiple times since Friday.

"We've been hearing gunshots," she said. "We don't go outside."

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna and @katemather.

Times staff writer Kate Linthicum contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

10:19 p.m.: This post has been updated with the release of three people from custody.

10:12 a.m.: This post is updated with search ending, three detained and new details.

This post was originally published at 7:01 a.m.

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