2 L.A. deputies shot in ‘ambush’ attack recovering after surgery

Two law enforcement officers in uniform stand next to a sheriff's SUV behind crime scene tape
Deputies block off the scene near the bus station where two L.A. County sheriff’s deputies were shot.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were out of surgery and recovering after being shot Saturday evening in Compton in what authorities described as an “ambush” that was captured on surveillance video.

The video, released by the department, shows a man walking up to the deputies’ parked patrol car, pulling out a gun and firing several times into the front seat area from the passenger side. The assailant is then seen running from the scene. On Sunday, officials asked for the public’s help to locate the person who opened fire.

The Sheriff’s Department reported that the shooting occurred about 7 p.m. near the Blue Line station at 275 Willowbrook Ave.


“One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition.

The deputies were listed in critical condition but were expected to survive.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Sunday called the condition of the deputies a “double miracle.”

Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that at least one of the deputies was shot in the face and the other in the head.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva exits his news conference outside the St. Francis Medical Center.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, second from left, exits a news conference outside St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where two L.A. County sheriff’s deputies are being treated.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Speaking at a news conference at the hospital late Saturday, Villanueva described one of the injured deputies as a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy and the other as a 24-year-old man. He said both deputies were sworn into office just 14 months ago.

“The two deputies were ambushed by a gunman in a cowardly fashion,” he said. “This is a dangerous job.”

He noted that sheriff’s detectives on Thursday shot and killed a man in Compton who they said opened fire on them as they served a search warrant.

“Every week across the nation someone is losing their life in the line of duty,” he said. “This is just another grim reminder of that.”


Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles) also spoke at the news conference.

“This was an unprovoked, cowardly act,” he said. “The individual will be caught, and justice will prevail.

“Tonight we must as a community condemn the act of the perpetrator,” he added. “More importantly, we must come together and pray for the officers because they are heroes.”

LAPD Chief Michel Moore also offered his support.

“Tonight we pray for these two guardians to survive,” the chief tweeted. “I recognize and acknowledge we live in troubled times. But we must as a community work thru our differences while loudly and resoundly condemn violence. Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

No further details on the shooting were immediately available, and it was unclear whether detectives had identified a suspect. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.

 Detectives comb the scene where two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies were shot.
Detectives comb the scene where two L.A. County Sheriff’s deputies were shot and gravely injured Saturday night in Compton.
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Some local law enforcement officers took to social media to express their anger and disgust over the shooting.

“I hope this monster is caught soon,” LAPD Capt. Gisselle Espinoza tweeted. “I’m sick to my stomach. The deputies are in my prayers. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”


The Sheriff’s Department has been under scrutiny for several deputy-involved shootings in recent months. The killing of a man on a bicycle in Westmont has sparked days of tense protests. Some demonstrators came to St. Francis Medical Center, where the wounded deputies were being treated. The department said on Twitter that some of those protesters blocked entrances and exits at the hospital, but that could not be independently verified.

Videos from the scene capture at least one person in the crowd yelling, “I hope they ... die.”

A reporter for LAist was arrested there. Video showed the reporter, Josie Huang, pinned by several deputies. LAist said it had called for her immediate release and an apology from the department.

Huang was released Sunday morning.

She said she would respond to claims on Twitter by the Sheriff’s Department that she didn’t have proper press credentials. “Hi, all. I’m out of county jail and am headed home. Thank you for caring. I have seen tweets and have thoughts and videos to share soon after a little rest,” she wrote on Twitter.

Both of the deputies who were shot Saturday were members of the sheriff’s transportation detail.

Metro has split policing duties of its 1,433-mile service area — including 93 rail stations and nearly 14,000 bus stops — among three agencies: the Los Angeles Police Department, which patrols buses, trains and stations in the city of L.A.; the Long Beach police, who work at eight Blue Line stations; and the Sheriff’s Department, which patrols the rest of the system.


This summer, the Metro board approved a series of policing reform measures, including no longer sending armed officers to respond to nonviolent crimes, hiring unarmed ambassadors to work at stations, and expanding fare discounts.