The shooting of two Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputies in an apparent ambush prompted a manhunt, strong reaction from Donald Trump and protests outside the hospital where the wounded deputies were treated.
The deputies were shot while sitting in a patrol car at a Metro rail station, around 7pm on Saturday, not far from the the Compton sheriff’s department. They were able to radio for help, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
“The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” the department said, publishing to social media video that showed a person open fire through the passenger-side window.
The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy both underwent surgery, Villanueva said, adding that both graduated from the academy 14 months ago. The female deputy has a six-year-old son, an official said.
“Hopefully they can both heal from this,” Villanueva said.
The video sparked a strong reaction from the president, who tweeted: “Animals that must be hit hard!” On Sunday morning, from Nevada, Trump added: “If they die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this!”
The California governor, Gavin Newsom, announced a death penalty moratorium in March last year, a temporary reprieve for 737 inmates on death row.
Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, tweeted: “This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice. Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”
The LA sheriff’s department is facing national scrutiny over allegations that some deputies have operated as “criminal gangs” and as local protests continue over killings of Black and Latino residents by law enforcement officers.
Across Los Angeles county, between the end of May and early September, officers fatally shot 11 people, according to Black Lives Matter LA, which tracks killings. Officers have killed more than 1,000 people in Los Angeles county over the past two decades, according to Youth Justice Coalition (YJC), an activist group.