LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy underwent surgery and is hospitalized in stable condition today after he was wounded in a shooting with three suspects in East Los Angeles that left one suspect dead at the scene.
At about 11:30 p.m. Monday, two deputies spotted a vehicle with three people inside in the 3600 block of Misner Avenue and noticed suspicious activity, according to Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
“As they began to interact with the people in the car one of the deputies spotted something that was suspicious,” McDonnell said at an early morning news conference. “At that point, one of the individuals in the vehicle got out and an altercation ensued. The suspect came up with a gun. The deputy and the suspect were engaged in an altercation for the gun.”
The deputy's partner saw what was happening and approached the scene with her weapon drawn and the deputy-involved shooting occurred, McDonnell said.
A weapon was recovered at the scene, he said.
The California Highway Patrol was in the area, heard what was occurring and responded, along with East Los Angeles station deputies.
“CHP officers transported our injured deputy to the hospital,” McDonnell said. “We are very thankful for their partnership in that.”
The deputy underwent surgery and was in stable condition, McDonnell said.
The suspect, a 42-year-old man, died at the scene and two other people in the car, a 42-year-old man and a 30-year old woman were detained by deputies, according to sheriff's Lt. Rodney Moore. McDonnell said neither of the two persons detained took on an active role in the altercation.
The suspect who was killed was a passenger in the rear of the vehicle, Moore said.
The injured deputy is a field training officer with more than 10 years with the department and his partner is a trainee with approximately three years on the job, Moore said.
McDonnell went to the hospital and spoke with the injured deputy's wife, then the attending physician.
“We're optimistic about his chances for a full recovery,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell said deputies' lives are on the line every time they make a stop.
“When you walk up on a vehicle, particularly at night, oftentimes windows are tinted and you cannot see much of anything until you're right up on it,” McDonnell said. “Most times you really don't know how many occupants are in the vehicle until you're right there and get them to roll down the windows. So the deputies put themselves in harm's way every time they stop a vehicle, walking into the unknown, if you will. It's a challenging, but necessary part of the job.”
This was the third time in six days a deputy was shot in East Los Angeles.
Two deputies were wounded during a shooting Wednesday at Ruben F. Salazar Park, 3864 Whittier Blvd., where a suspect was shot and killed. Another suspect was wounded and a third was taken into custody in that incident.
McDonnell was asked what he says to his deputies who have been wounded in the line of duty.
“You try to let them know you're there for them, you support their mission,” McDonnell said. “You thank them for their courage and willingness to go into harm's way. And then try to facilitate any needs they may have or their family may have and just let them know we're a support base them and the trauma is behind them and we're focused on the recovery now.”