LAPD scales back ambush manhunt; fourth detainee released

Los Angeles County Sheriff's SWAT team members in a helicopter fly low over homes during a massive manhunt for a suspect who shot at two detectives.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Police have released all four men detained for questioning and scaled back their manhunt for a gunman who ambushed two police detectives outside the Wilshire Division station early Tuesday.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting, which occurred about 4:30 a.m. just outside the LAPD Wilshire substation at 4861 W. Venice Blvd.

The undercover burglary detectives were in an unmarked car waiting for the security gate to open at the station’s parking lot.


More than a dozen rounds were fired from behind and one detective suffered a minor head injury either from a bullet or shattered glass and the other detective suffered a minor injury to their hand, officials said.

A gunman was spotted fleeing on foot.

Both detectives were released from the hospital and were aiding police in the search. The two have been on the force for 11 and 20 years and were returning from an assignment, police said.

The ambush triggered a massive manhunt involving some 200 officers, a SWAT team and air and K-9 units from the LAPD and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Police locked down more than 25 blocks around the substation near Venice Boulevard and La Brea Avenue north of the 10 Freeway.

By noon, the perimeter had been reduced to Venice, West, La Brea and Washington boulevards.

Police said they have no doubt the shooter was deliberately targeting the officers.

“This was a blatant attempt to assassinate two of the people who protect this community,” Police Chief Charlie Beck said at a police commission meeting Tuesday morning.

Police detained four men in the hours after the shooting but have released them. The search wreaked havoc on Angelenos’ morning commute.


Kelly Dennis was stuck in traffic when she called work to tell them she was going to be late. The 37-year-old social worker for Los Angeles County awoke to helicopters buzzing overhead, looked outside and noticed that the local monks weren’t out for their morning walk. As soon as she saw the morning news, she called work and said she might not be able to come in.

She finally got to leave the neighborhood about four minutes before she was scheduled to start, she said.

Things weren’t much better for Cecil Washington.

“It’s chaotic,” the 73-year-old Mid-City resident said.

Washington said he made sure to give himself plenty of time to take his daughter Amy to the airport because of all the commotion Tuesday morning. He sat in his car at Crenshaw and St. Charles Place, stuck in traffic with hundreds of others trying to navigate the police perimeter.

“It’s just so shocking a shooting would happen right here at the Wilshire station,” he said.

Unable to get back to his home, he said he was going to find somewhere to eat lunch and wait for the scene to clear.



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