Local News in Brief : Off-Duty Deputy Shot in Fight With Suspect

An off-duty sheriff's deputy was shot in the hand during a struggle with a suspected auto thief who police said tried to grab the deputy's pistol early Monday outside a Woodland Hills condominium complex.

Kevin Russell, 32, a five-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, was on his way to work about 5 a.m. when he saw two men jump over a security fence in the 22100 block of Burbank Boulevard, said Los Angeles Police Det. Phil Quartararo. The men, who were carrying flashlights, tried the door handles of a Porsche and a Cadillac limousine in the parking lot of the condominium complex, Quartararo said.

Russell identified himself as a sheriff's officer and ordered the men to stop, Quartararo said.

The men ran. Russell chased one of them and cornered him in the courtyard of the complex near the pool, the detective said.

Russell and the man struggled over the officer's gun, which went off and injured two of Russell's fingers on his left hand, Quartararo said.

Russell, with the aid of two condominium complex residents, held the man until police came, Quartararo said.

Police arrested Bryan Albert Bernard, 20 of Panorama City on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. He was being held in West Valley police station in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Russell underwent surgery, which saved both fingers, Monday morning at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. He was in good condition, according to hospital spokeswoman Leslie Wither.

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