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LAPD Officer Shot in Attack Outside Home : Crime: She is listed in guarded condition. Assailant killed, three suspects arrested.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was seriously wounded and one of her four alleged assailants was killed in a shoot-out early Saturday outside the officer’s Santa Clarita home, authorities said.

Officer Stacy Lim, 27, was in guarded condition at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital hours after she underwent emergency surgery for a bullet that tore through her chest and back, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joaquin Herran.

Police said the two-year Police Department veteran was accosted by two young men and two teen-age girls when she arrived home at 1:40 a.m. Authorities speculated that the four wanted to take Lim’s blue late-model Ford Bronco and purse, but didn’t realize she was a police officer.

Arvin Mani, 20, and the two teen-age girls were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

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Details of what happened after Lim arrived in front of her neatly landscaped, modest stucco house remained sketchy. But at some point, Lim and Joel Garcia Valenzuela, 16, started shooting at each other at a distance of three feet, said Deputy George Ducoulombier. Awakened from their sleep, neighbors on Nadal Street in Canyon Country said they heard numerous shots being fired rapidly.

When deputies arrived, Valenzuela--whose last known address is in Los Angeles--was dead, sprawled on the street behind Lim’s Bronco. A .357 magnum handgun lay next to his body. Neighbors gawked at the shirtless body, which was not covered until several hours later.

Lim was found lying in her driveway, next to the front of the Bronco. An ambulance escorted by three squad cars took her to the hospital.

After the shooting, two suspects--Mani and a 14-year-old girl--fled in a car, authorities said. Mani and the teen-ager were arrested about 6 a.m. in the Highland Park area.

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The third suspect, a 13-year-old girl, ran down the street after the shooting and hid behind some bushes. She was found by deputies, who were searching nearby yards.

“She seemed calm. She wasn’t even crying,” said a teen-age boy who lives on Nadal Street. “It was as if nothing had happened.”

Police believe Lim’s attackers followed her home, but police said they do not know when they began trailing her. Lim, a patrol officer at the Police Department’s Northeast Division, had not worked Friday, but stopped off at the station that night after a softball game before heading home.

“It’s very unusual to have people from Los Angeles, especially at this age, out here in this area,” Sgt. Herran said. “Why did they pick her? We don’t have any answers yet.

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“There is nothing to indicate they knew she was a police officer,” Herran said. “I think they were surprised she had a gun.”

After the shooting, dozens of sheriff’s officials, detectives and officers descended upon the crime scene, which was cordoned off with yellow tape. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates, three deputy chiefs, various commanders and at least one police commissioner surveyed the scene and went to the hospital.

Lim originally was listed in critical condition on Saturday. Her condition was later upgraded to guarded.

An officer at the Northeast Division, who declined to give his name, said the watch commander could not talk to the press.

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“He has tears in his eyes,” the officer said. “He is so emotional.”


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