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Search continues for gunman who ambushed two LAPD detectives

Los Angeles Police DepartmentGavin Newsom

Los Angeles police continued to comb through forensic evidence and security camera footage Wednesday for clues in finding the gunman who ambushed two undercover detectives with a hail of bullets.

Police said there have been no arrests since two burglary detectives -- 11- and 20-year veterans, respectively -– were attacked about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday while waiting for the parking lot gate at the LAPD Wilshire substation to open.

Both detectives suffered minor injuries and managed to return fire, but it was unclear whether they wounded the attacker. The two returned to the scene hours later to help police find the shooter.

But despite closing a square-mile area of Mid-City most of Tuesday and detaining at least 11 people for questioning, the shooter remained at large.

At its height, the manhunt involved about 200 officers, a SWAT team and air and canine units from the LAPD and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

"This was a blatant attempt to assassinate two of the people who protect this community," Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday at a police commission meeting.

The gunman fired at them from behind, shattering windows in the car, and fled on foot.

The search went in fits and starts. Four men were detained in the hours after the shooting before being released. As the hours ticked by Tuesday, the search condensed, and officers returned to their normal duties.

Then, in the afternoon, officers swarmed the 1600 block of South Highland Avenue after a caller told police they had spotted a suspicious-looking man ducking out of a laundry room.

Along Lomita Avenue, Anthony Ruiz, 11, sat on the back of his dad's pickup truck with his friend, Gustavo Ramirez, 10, and watched the spectacle unfold. An armored vehicle drove past, carrying helmet-clad sheriff's deputies. The deputies occasionally hopped off to search outside homes.

“It’s like a movie,” Anthony said. "It's a little scary because you don't know what's going to come next."

Down the street, 19-year-old Dayana Vasquez said the lockdown forced her to miss a class at West L.A. Community College and her afternoon shift at work was also in question.

But she said she didn't mind the inconvenience.

"Seeing this, I feel secure that at least they’re trying their best to find who did this," Vasquez said. "They’re trying to make us feel protected. That’s a good thing."

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