Two Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies from the Transit Services Bureau were ambushed outside of the MLK Transit Center in Compton, California, at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday. Both officers were shot multiple times and are in critical condition, according to an LA County Sheriff’s press release.
“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job and actions, words have consequences, and our job does not get any easier because people don’t like law enforcement,” Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva said during a press conference following the ambush. “It’s going to be a challenge day after day — however, the sheriff’s department will never be deterred in keeping our passengers safe on the MTA lines, keeping our community safe — we are committed to that.”
Update: The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation. pic.twitter.com/cBQjyKkoxJ
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 13, 2020
Misinformation about the gruesome ambush on the two deputies has been spreading on social media. Here is what we know so far:
- The only information released about the deputies so far is that one is a 31-year-old female with a 6-year-old son, and the other is a 24-year-old male. Villanueva said during the press conference that both deputies recently graduated from the academy as part of Class 437, and he swore both deputies into duty approximately 14 months ago.
- Capt. Kent Wegener said during the same press conference that the suspect was seemingly walking past the squad car when he suddenly turned and fired several shots at both deputies seated inside.
- The suspect fled back the way he came from after firing his pistol and was last seen in a black four-door sedan heading northbound on Willowbrook Avenue, which is a street right next to the transit station.
- Videos surfaced on social media showing bystanders apparently excited and happy that the deputies were shot.
- Another video was posted showing members of the Africa Town Coalition walking toward the St. Francis Medical Center, where the deputies underwent surgery. A person identifying as a member of the coalition calls the deputies “two of America’s most notorious gang members” and “murderers.”
- Law enforcement made two arrests outside of the hospital after declaring an unlawful assembly. One arrest was of Josie Huang, an NPR-affiliated reporter. She claimed via Twitter that she was arrested after having nowhere to go when she was ordered to back up. She also claims that she had appropriate identification on her showing that she is a journalist.
It’s how I remember it — like being tossed around in the ocean and then slammed into rock pic.twitter.com/G3rfCR1NiI
— Josie Huang (@josie_huang) September 14, 2020
- The LA County Sheriff’s Department tweeted a confirmation that one adult male was arrested as well as Huang after she repeatedly ignored orders to back up and interfered with deputies on scene. They added in the thread that “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. Both individuals have been arrested for 148 P.C.”
- The LA County Sheriffs Twitter account announced on Sunday, “To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling ‘We hope they die’ referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL. People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.”
- A video was leaked that shows the two deputies taking cover behind a pillar of the transit station. The female deputy appears to be bleeding from her jaw, with blood all the way down the front of her ballistic vest; the male deputy appears to be dazed.
- On Sunday, the sheriff’s department announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
- Misinformation spread that a suspect has been identified. The department’s Twitter account addressed the misinformation, saying, “Currently, there is a social media post that is being circulated which identifies a male out of the Los Angeles area as the suspect responsible for the ambush of our 2 deputies yesterday. This is ERRONEOUS information and there are no named or wanted suspects at this time.”
- At the time of publication, the only information announced about the suspect describes him as a Black male, approximately 28 to 30 years old, wearing dark clothing at the time of the shooting.
This is a developing story, and the investigation is still ongoing.