DOWNTOWN — A homeless man accused of shooting two police officers outside a busy Kmart is due to be arraigned today on attempted murder charges.
Despite being handcuffed behind his back, police say Jamie Willard managed to reach around, grab an officer's gun and begin firing.
Willard, 30, had been detained by security guards outside the San Fernando Boulevard store on Friday afternoon because they suspected he had stolen some DVDs, but a scuffle broke out when police arrived to take him into custody, Sgt. Robert Quesada said.
Officer Alex Gutierrez was shot repeatedly in the chest, but was protected by his bulletproof vest. A bullet fragment ricocheted and hit his leg. He was released from the hospital and is recovering at home, Quesada said.
Officer Derek Green — who joined the force about six years ago — was shot in his hand and is still in the hospital after two operations. He also hurt his leg and will need more surgery later this week, Quesada said.
Willard, of Gresham, Ore., was Tasered during the incident and treated for cuts and scrapes. He was taken to Los Angeles County Jail and held in lieu of $1-million bail after doctors discharged him Friday.
The police investigation is ongoing, but Quesada said an Oregon arrest warrant was out for Willard relating to felony theft.
FOR THE RECORD: This corrects an earlier version that gave Derek Green's time on the force as 18 months. That is the amount of time Alex Gutierrez has served with the department.