LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer was killed in an apparent exchange of gunfire with one or more armed robbery suspects in an unincorporated area in the Firestone-Florence neighborhood, and authorities today sought public help to solve the crime.
Sheriff's deputies responded about 9:15 p.m. Monday to the 8700 block of Beach Street, where they found the officer with gunshot wounds, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
``A black pickup truck approached the male adult victim, an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer, and several suspects exited the vehicle,'' a sheriff's statement said. ``An argument ensued and an officer- involved shooting occurred. The pickup drove away in an unknown direction. Deputies from the Century Station responded to the location and transported the victim in their patrol car to a local area hospital where he was pronounced deceased.''
A perimeter spanning several blocks was set up as deputies scoured the area for suspects. The officer's name has not been released.
``Tonight, we mourn the loss of one of our officers who was shot [and] killed in an armed robbery attempt,'' reads a tweet from the Los Angeles Police Protective League, a union that represents LAPD officers. ``The officer was off-duty. We pray for the officer's family, and their fellow officers, during this time of pain and sorrow. This is an active investigation.''
Shortly before daybreak on Tuesday, the officer's body was taken in a procession of vehicles from St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood to the Los Angeles County coroner's facility near downtown Los Angeles.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said authorities have recovered the officer's handgun and a firearm believed used by a suspect in the crime.
``We do believe that we have an officer-involved shooting here, that our officer exchanged gunfire with at least one of these suspects,'' Moore said. ``We do have our officer's gun, and we have an additional weapon that we believe was responsible for this assault. ... We know that we need the community's help, but we also have every faith and confidence that we'll be identifying the person or persons responsible for this terrible act and this grievous loss.''
According to Fox 11, a wounded person was found in a vehicle in the area following the officer's shooting, and investigators were working to determine if that person was a suspect in the crime.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.