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3 Held; Link Sought in Officers’ Deaths : Investigation: Two men and a woman are accused of harboring a fugitive who may have connections to the Compton slayings.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Three people who are believed to have harbored a fugitive who might be connected to the Feb. 22 slayings of two Compton police officers were arrested during a raid at an apartment house Thursday afternoon, police said.

The arrests came four days after Compton police received a tip that prime suspects in the shooting deaths of Officers Kevin Michael Burrell, 29, and James Wayne MacDonald, 23, were hiding somewhere in Orange County.

The two men and a woman who were arrested about 2 p.m. at the Casa Madrid apartments on East Ball Road are believed to have harbored a man wanted in the 1992 murder of a woman in Compton, said Compton Police Lt. Joe Flores.

“We feel like he (the wanted man) had some information on the Burrell-MacDonald murders and may be connected somehow,” Flores said.

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The two men and the woman, all of whom appeared to be in their 20s, were led in handcuffs to a police car after they were arrested without incident.

Police said the three were driven directly to Compton police headquarters, where they were questioned about the man sought in the 1992 slaying and his possible connection to the deaths of Burrell and MacDonald.

The two officers were killed after they stopped a red pickup for an apparent traffic violation at a Compton intersection.

None of those arrested Thursday were identified by police. Neither was the fugitive wanted in the 1992 killing. Police say they have identified one of the two men sought in the slayings of the policemen, but investigators have not revealed his identity or said whether he may be the man wanted in the 1992 homicide.

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Witnesses said dozens of heavily armed officers from the Compton Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Anaheim Police Department converged on the apartment complex shortly before 2 p.m. Thursday.

“There was cops everywhere,” said Jesse Escalera, 15, who was visiting friends in the complex. “They lined the path in front of the guy’s door. They all had masks and big old rifles.”

The three people who were arrested offered no resistance, officers said. After they were led away, police searched the apartment, finding an unloaded shotgun, telephone records and other materials.

Flores said the three may be charged with being accessories after the fact in the murder of Jacquline Price, who was shot to death Oct. 17, 1992, at her home in Compton. Detectives say the fugitive wanted for Price’s murder is her cousin.

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Police also went to two locations in Tustin on Thursday in the continuing search for information about the killings of Burrell and MacDonald, but no other arrests were made.

Investigators say Burrell and MacDonald stopped a red Chevrolet pickup truck at Rosecrans and Dwight avenues about 11 p.m. Feb. 22 for a “possible traffic violation of suspicious circumstance.”

“The officers . . . didn’t call dispatch . . . and didn’t pull their weapons,” Compton Police Chief Hourie Taylor said two days later. “They (apparently) felt somewhat at ease. . . . The officers were probably very familiar with the occupants of the vehicle.”

Witnesses told investigators that the officers were patting down the two occupants of the truck to see if they were carrying weapons when one of the men drew a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol and opened fire.

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After the two wounded officers fell to the ground, each was shot several times in the head, execution-style, before they had a chance to pull their guns from their holsters, police said. The suspects fled in their truck.

As news of the killings spread, dozens of law enforcement agencies offered help.

The Los Angeles Police Department, the county Sheriff’s Department and the FBI joined the manhunt. Some of the officers working on the case were off duty and volunteered their time. Many placed black ribbons of mourning over their badges.

MacDonald, a reserve officer, was working his final day with the department when he was slain.

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Times staff writer Jon Markman in Anaheim contributed to this story. Adams reported from Anaheim and Malnic from Los Angeles.


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