Arrest Made in Ambush Shooting of Two LA County Sheriff’s Deputies

Two LA County Sheriffs Deputies Shot in Compton (Credit: LASD/Twitter)

A suspect has been arrested in connection with the ambush shooting earlier this month of two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in Compton, authorities said Wednesday.

Deonte Lee Murray, 36,  was charged with two counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Murray has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Surveillance video showed a male suspect walk past the sheriff’s patrol car on Sept. 12, as the deputies sat in the vehicle outside a Compton Metro station. The suspect then turned toward the vehicle with a gun held out and fired several times through the passenger side window. The deputies, a male and a female who have not been identified publicly, were each shot multiple times.

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One of the deputies, a 24-year-old man, was released from the hospital on Sept. 16. The other deputy, a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy, was released from the hospital last week. They each face long recoveries.

Murray, a Compton resident, was arrested on Sept. 15 in connection with a carjacking that happened earlier this month, Capt. Kent Wegener of the sheriff’s department said in a televised news conference.

Murray allegedly fled from the Sept. 12 shooting in a black Mercedes-Benz — the type of vehicle that was stolen in the carjacking, authorities said.

On the day that he was arrested, the sheriff’s department told reporters there was no connection between the ambush of the deputies and the carjacking suspect, who was taken into custody following a pursuit and an hours-long standoff in nearby Lynwood.

The sheriff’s department said the carjacking suspect discarded a handgun while being pursued by investigators. Ballistics tests later determined that the .40-caliber pistol recovered from the carjacking suspect was the same one used to shoot the sheriff’s deputies, and it was “conclusively linked through forensic testing,” Wegener said Wednesday.

“We knew that he was a violent offender, was accused of stealing a black Mercedes-Benz and lived in the area. However, there was insufficient evidence to support an arrest, much less a criminal filing for the charge of attempted murder on a peace officer and to label him in the media as the person responsible,” Wegener told reporters.

Murray could face a life sentence if convicted as charged, according to District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

“We’ve all seen the shocking surveillance video of the shooting and the heroic actions of the wounded female deputy as she drags her partner to safety,” Lacey said. “That video, plus other compelling forensic evidence, are the basis of charges for this prosecution.”