A gunman opened fire on two deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Saturday night as they sat in their patrol car outside a Compton Metro station, leaving them “fighting for their lives,” authorities said.
The two remained in critical condition Sunday morning after undergoing surgery. They were attacked around 7 p.m. outside the Metro Blue Line station at Willowbrook Avenue and Palmer Street, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters at a media briefing.
Surveillance video released by the LASD showed a male suspect, described as “dark-skinned,” walk past the vehicle, then turn toward it with a gun held out and firing several times through the passenger side window.
Update: The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation. pic.twitter.com/cBQjyKkoxJ
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 13, 2020
As the gunman ran off, the passenger door to the vehicle swung open. The LASD said the wounded deputies radioed for help and were rushed to the hospital by colleagues who responded.
“Two deputies were ambushed by a gunman in a cowardly fashion,” Villanueva said outside the hospital where the two deputies are being treated. To see somebody just walk up and start shooting on them, it pisses me off.”
The suspect was still at large as of Sunday morning.
“I am devastated to learn of the tragedy that occurred in our city tonight,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown said in a statement on Facebook. “Both deputies and their families will remain in our prayers.”
The deputies were described by Villanueva as a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy, and a 24-year-old man. The sheriff said he swore-in both deputies himself just 14 months ago.
According to the LASD, 14 homicide detectives, crime scene analysts, technicians and other deputies are working the case. The FBI also announced that it is offering resources to help with the investigation.
President Donald Trump retweeted the shooting video and wrote, “Animals that must be hit hard!”
According to the sheriff’s department and local media reports, protesters tried to block the entrance at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, with some people shouting: “We hope they die.”
Meanwhile, a reporter for public radio station KPCC covering the situation at the hospital was arrested by deputies for obstruction of justice. News footage showed her on the ground with deputies surrounding her. The sheriff’s department tweeted, she “did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person.”