Two California Deputies Shot in Ambush, Authorities Say

Two California Deputies Shot in Ambush, Authorities Say

A search continued on Sunday for a gunman who shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies multiple times, wounding them critically, as they sat in their parked patrol car, the authorities said.

The officers were shot at the M.L.K. Transit Center, a Metro station in Compton, around 7 p.m. local time on Saturday, the authorities said. The Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter that the deputies had been “ambushed.”

The deputies, a man, 24, and a woman, 31, who is the mother of a 6-year-old boy, were taken to a hospital, where they underwent surgery, department officials said. Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff, said the two deputies were sworn into office 14 months ago.

Both were out of surgery and were recovering in the hospital on Sunday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department said.

The department posted a video to its Twitter feed showing the gunman approaching the passenger side of the car from behind, firing several rounds and then running away.

The gunman, a Black male between 28 and 30 years old, was wearing dark clothing, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release, offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. The gunman was last seen in a black four-door sedan heading north on Willowbrook Avenue.

Reginald Jones-Sawyer, a California state assemblyman from South Los Angeles, called the shootings “an unprovoked, cowardly act.”

No suspected motive was given. Sheriff Villanueva, in comments to reporters late Saturday, spoke obliquely about attitudes toward the police.

“This is just a sober reminder that this is a dangerous job and you know actions, words have consequences, and our job does not get any easier because people don’t like law enforcement,” he said.

President Trump, who has been attempting to use scenes of violent protests and attacks on police officers to portray himself as a voice of law and order, retweeted the shooting video early Sunday, saying, “Animals that must be hit hard!”

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, called for justice after the shooting. “This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice,” he said on Twitter on Sunday morning. “Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”

According to the F.B.I., 44 police officers were killed by gunfire while on duty last year, up from a low of 38 in 2015 and down from a peak of 63 in 2011 in the past decade. A study published last year in the journal of Criminology and Public Policy found that line-of-duty deaths of officers declined by 75 percent between 1970 and 2016.

Sheriff Villanueva said he was angered to see two deputies attacked as they were doing their job to protect train passengers.

“Seeing somebody just walk up and just start shooting them, it pisses me off,” he said. “It dismays me at the same time. There’s no prettier way to say it.”

Later in the evening, a few protesters gathered outside the hospital where the deputies were being treated, blocking a driveway leading to the emergency department. The Sheriff’s Department said that at least one of the protesters said he hoped the deputies would die.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a reporter who was covering the shootings, Josie Huang of the public radio station KPCC and the website LAist. Deputy Morgan Arteaga, a Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, said Ms. Huang had been arrested on charges of obstructing officers.

“This kind of treatment of a respected L.A. journalist is disturbing,” Ms. Huang’s colleague Frank Stoltze said on Twitter.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Austin Ramzy contributed reporting.


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