COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — The shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in an apparent ambush prompted a manhunt for the shooter, reaction from the president and protests outside the hospital where the wounded deputies were being treated Saturday night in California.
The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy both underwent surgery Saturday evening, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a late-night news conference. Both had recently graduated from the academy 14, he said.
“They just graduated, and in fact, I swore them into office just 14 months ago,” Villanueva told KTLA. “These are real people doing a tough job, and it just shows the dangers of the job — in the blink of an eye.”
The deputies were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station and were able to radio for help, the sheriff said. Villanueva, whose department has come under fire during recent protests over racial unrest, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the officers.
“It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time,” he said.
The department shared video of the shooting in a Twitter post showing a person open fire through the passenger-side window of the patrol car.
“The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” the department stated.
The video sparked thousands of reactions, including from President Donald Trump, who responded, “Animals that must be hit hard!”
Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated.
“To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling “We hope they die” referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL,” the sheriff’s department tweeted. “People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.”
Capt. Kent Wegener said officers were blanketing the area in search of a suspect seen on the video opening fire with a pistol.
“We have a very, very generic description,” he said.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. a short distance from the Compton sheriff’s station.
“He walked along the passenger side of the car,” Wegner said. “He acted as if he was going to walk past the car. And then he made a left turn directly toward the car, raised a pistol and fired several rounds inside of the vehicle, striking both of the sheriff’s deputies.”