Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were stable and recovering on Tuesday in St. Francis Medical Center after being shot in what the LA Times described as “a cold-blooded attempt to kill.”
The double shooting occurred around 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, Sept. 12, at the Compton Metro Station. Both deputies were sitting in their patrol car at the time. Security video footage of the attack shows a man walking up to the car and firing multiple times point blank into the window, then running away. The 31-year-old female sheriff’s deputy was hit in the mouth and the arms, but was able to help her 24-year-old male counterpart get out of the car and hide behind a concrete pillar, then make a tourniquet for his arm. Both went into surgery and were recovering as of Tuesday, Sept. 15. The deputies’ names were not released.
A manhunt for the shooter was still ongoing as of Tuesday. The LA Times reported that President Donald Trump called for the death penalty for the shooter once he was found. The shooter’s motivations were unknown, though many have speculated they may have been powered by an anti-law enforcement sentiment associated with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which was reignited earlier this summer after Minnesota police officers killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis.
The LA County Board of Supervisors sponsored a $100,000 reward for information about the shooter, described as a “male Black, 28-30 years old, wearing dark clothing.” Anyone with information on the attack is asked to call the sheriff’s homicide bureau at 323.890.5500 or may share information anonymously to “Crime Stoppers” by calling 800.222.8477 or by downloading the P3Tips mobile phone app.
On Monday, Malibu City Council discussed the incident, with several council members expressing support for the sheriff’s department, going as far as suggesting a letter be sent from the city expressing support for LASD; however, no formal action was taken.
“That’s what you get when you go on record as an elected official–it’s happening all over =–and don’t support your law enforcement,” Council Member Rick Mullen said. “And you get a lot of rules that impede the ability of law enforcement and you let them out of jail early and all of that.”
As nationwide condemnation of the crime and empathy have rolled in from leaders and politicians across the nation, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva once again faced heat from the public—this time for his deputies’ treatment of a reporter who was forcibly arrested while she filmed police after a press conference held at the hospital where the victims were entering surgery.
On Saturday night, KPCC and LAist reporter Josie Huang was covering the protests that had formed outside the hospital in Lynwood.
That evening, the LA County Sheriff’s Department Twitter account reported they arrested a female adult and charged her with obstructing a peace officer. “The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person,” the department tweeted.
According to videos later posted on Huang’s Twitter, she was thrown to the ground by other deputies who stomped on her phone after she used her phone to film officers in pursuit of protesters from a distance.
In the videos, she loudly identified herself as a reporter as she was pinned to the ground by several deputies. She also wore a lanyard that signaled she was a member of the press, as confirmed by video shot by nearby television crews.
Huang’s arrest caused an outcry on social media and resulted in LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas calling on the LA County Sheriff Citizens Oversight Commission to hold a meeting on Huang’s arrest and County Inspector General Max Huntsman to open an investigation. The commission had already scheduled a meeting to take place on Thursday, Sept. 17; according to Fox 11, Huntsman was scheduled to speak about the incident then.
Huang was released Sunday morning.
Associated Press reporter Stefanie Dazio shared a video on Twitter of Villanueva at a press conference saying that “[Huang] crossed the line from journalism to activism.”