The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was leading a hunt Sunday for a gunman who shot two deputies multiple times in an ambush Saturday night.
Both deputies were in critical condition, officials said.
The deputies, who worked in the department’s transit services bureau, were shot while sitting in their parked patrol vehicle near the Compton station of the Metro A Line, a light rail in Los Angeles. The gunman walked past the passenger side of the car shortly before 7 p.m., the officials said, then turned around and fired several rounds from a pistol into the vehicle. He then fled on foot, the officials said.
The wounded deputies were able to radio for help and were transported to St. Francis Medical Center, where they each underwent surgery, according to the officials.
The sheriff’s department said on Twitter early Sunday morning that protesters had blocked the entrance to the medical center’s emergency room and shouted, “We hope they die,” referring to the wounded deputies.
Two people were arrested after the sheriff’s department ordered the protesters to disperse, the department said.
The sheriff’s department has been facing sometimes violent protests since the killing by deputies of Dijon Kizzee, a 29-year-old old Black man, who had been stopped last month for violating traffic laws on his bicycle, according to media accounts. A grainy video of the incident has been widely shared on social media. It shows a struggle between Mr. Kizzee and deputies and shots fired as he runs away. The sheriff’s department didn’t immediately respond to a request for details on that case.
At a press conference Saturday night, Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the shooting of the deputies a cowardly act and said the deputies “were doing their job, minding their own business, watching out for the safety of the people on the train.”
“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job,” he said. “Actions, words have consequences. And our job does not get any easier because people don’t like law enforcement. It’s going to be a challenge day after day.”
Sheriff Villanueva said the wounded officers—a 31-year-old female and a 24-year-old male—had been sworn into their jobs 14 months ago.
The sheriff’s department also posted video of the ambush shooting on Twitter. President Trump retweeted the video early Sunday morning, saying, “Animals that must be hit hard!”