A sniper who authorities say wounded a deputy in the parking lot of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lancaster station has not been found, authorities said Thursday.
Sheriff’s officials spent hours overnight searching a nearby four-story apartment building, where they expected to find the gunman who fired at Deputy Angel Reinosa, who was struck about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday while walking to his car. Authorities recovered a pellet gun from the apartment building, but it’s not clear whether that was the weapon used in the shooting, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
The shooting drew a massive police presence, with a SWAT team and armored vehicles responding to the area. Deputies blocked off the apartment building and believed the shooter was trapped inside. However, when officials concluded their search of the structure about 4 a.m., they did not find a suspect, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Reinosa, 21, suffered a “graze wound” to his shoulder in the attack and was taken to a hospital. He since has been released and is expected to recover, officials said.
“He is doing great, thankfully,” Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Weber said late Wednesday. “The wound was minor, and he’s been treated and he’s doing well, in high spirits.”
The Sheriff’s Department said the gunfire came from a considerable distance. It was unclear how many shots were fired, but a source said the shooter fired a high-velocity rifle round that hit Reinosa.
The deputy made a radio call from the helipad in the station’s parking lot about 2:53 p.m. and said two shots had been fired north of the helipad from the nearby apartment building, according to preliminary information provided by authorities. Reinosa was able to scramble back to the station and get medical help.
Reinosa has been with the Sheriff’s Department for a year and joined the Lancaster station in May for patrol training, Weber said at a news conference Wednesday night.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said that the deputy’s bulletproof vest saved his life but that the bullet deflected into his shoulder.
“He was walking out of the sheriff’s station, and a sniper took a shot at him,” Parris said. “It is incomprehensible in our city.”