Two Los Angeles County Sheriff MPs were in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds after a suspect reportedly fired multiple shots at their patrol car and then escaped on foot.
The MPs, a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man, were parked on East Palmer Street near Compton Blue Line Station at the time of the shooting and then taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where they both operate.
"I swore her into office only 14 months ago," Villanueva said during a press conference. "These are real people doing a tough job and it just shows the dangers of the job in the blink of an eye."
The Sheriff's Department shared a disturbing video of the incident on Twitter. The shooter is reportedly still at large.
Update: The shooter approached the MPs and opened fire without warning or provocation. pic.twitter.com/cBQjyKkoxJ
– LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 13, 2020
The shooting takes place amid widespread protests against police brutality. On Saturday, several miles away, more than 200 peaceful protesters marched from 109th Square and Budlong Avenue to the sheriff's station in South Los Angeles on the Imperial Highway to oppose the police shooting of 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee on August 31 to protest who was riding his bike when confronted by MPs. Kizzee's gunshot death has sparked protests almost daily and resurrected indignation over the LASD shooting of 16-year-old Anthony Weber in 2018, which also took place in the Westmont neighborhood. MPs claimed Weber was armed with a weapon, although no weapon was found at the scene. His family received $ 3.75 million settlement from the county. The department's MPs also shot security guard Andres Guardado in June.
In August Compton Mayor Aja Brown called for a state and federal investigation into the LASD's activities in the city. “They terrorize the community and then cover their tracks. That's unacceptable, ”said Brown at the time. “We won't take that. I call on Attorney General Javier Becerra to stand up for the black and brown people in Compton. "
LASD's Compton station has also fought allegations that its ranks are dominated by a gang called Executioners, whose members a whistleblower claims sports tattoos with Nazi images. Sheriff Villanueva then announced a "zero tolerance" policy with regard to "cliques" and "subgroups" within the sheriff's stations.
Tension erupted outside St. Francis Medical Center on Saturday evening after MPs were rushed to the hospital when a handful of protesters arrived. In a tweet sent on Saturday evening, the sheriff's department claimed several protesters sang "We hope they die". The video published on Twitter by LAist reporter Josie Huang, who was later arrested by the sheriff's deputies despite being a member of the media, shows a person saying something along these lines to officers guarding a hospital entrance.
A tense situation unfolds in Lynwood as a handful of protesters yell at MPs on the sidewalk outside St. Francis Medical Center, where two MPs are recovering from surgery after being shot dead in Compton tonight. Pic.twitter.com/wwpcnVFvOI
– Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 13, 2020
There was no update of the injured MPs' respective conditions until 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, although they were reportedly still in the hospital.
In the meantime, local politicians have expressed outrage over the incident. "It was an unprovoked, cowardly act," said Reggie Jones Sawyer, MP, who represents California's 59th Congregation District. "The individual will be caught and justice will prevail."
Congresswoman Nanette Barragán tweeted, “Prayers for the two sheriff deputies who were shot near the Blue Line tonight while they were fighting for their lives. The video is disturbing and shows a coward ambushing the officers. May the suspect be brought to justice. "
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