Sheriff Calls Ambush of Two Deputies 'Cowardly,' Gunman at Large

COMPTON (CNS) - Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds after a gunman approached their patrol car outside a Compton train station tonight and struck them repeatedly with gunfire.

The attack occurred at about 7 p.m. at the Metro A (Blue) Line station at Willowbrook Avenue and Palmer Street, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters.

“Two deputies were ambushed in a cowardly fashion,'' Villanueva said. The shooting was without warning or provocation. “It pisses me off and it dismays me.''

Surveillance video released to the media showed a male, described as dark-skinned, approaching the patrol vehicle from behind and walking as if he was going to continue past the vehicle before turning, walking up to the passenger side and firing, then running back the way he came.

The wounded deputies managed to radio for help, said sheriff's Capt. Kent Wegener, who was leading the investigation. Responding deputies rushed their wounded comrades to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where they underwent surgery.

The deputies were described as a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy whose husband was at the hospital. The other was a 24-year-old man whose parents and girlfriend were also at the hospital, Villanueva said. He said that he swore-in both deputies himself 14 months ago.

“Once a week, an officer is felled by the felonious act of another person. This is just a grim reminder of that,'' the sheriff said. “Actions, words have consequences and our job is not getting any earlier because people don't like law enforcement.''

While deputies maintain a vigil at the hospital, 14 homicide detectives, crime scene analysts, technicians and other deputies were at the A Line station in Compton gathering leads and evidence and conducting a massive manhunt in the area around the station. The station was shut down for the investigation.

The FBI announced that it was offering resources to help in an investigation.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted, “Sending prayers of healing to the @LASDHQ deputies shot in a horrific attack near the Blue Line in the City of Compton. Deputies across the county bravely work to keep our communities and Metro riders safe. We strongly condemn this cowardly ambush & stand prepared to offer aid.''

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, tweeted, “Thank God both deputies made it through surgery and are now in critical but stable condition. Our thoughts and prayers for them and their families will continue to be amplified. Lawlessness of this sort cannot be tolerated. Let the perpetrator be swiftly and properly apprehended.''

President Donald Trump retweeted the shooting video and wrote, “Animals that must be hit hard!''

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