The Slatest

Two California Deputies in Critical Condition After Being Shot in Apparent Ambush

LASD car and two officers outside the hospital
St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, California, on Sunday. The sheriff’s deputies were taken there after being shot. Reuters/Patrick T. Fallon

A manhunt was underway Sunday for the gunman who shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies while they were sitting in their squad car in what appeared to have been an ambush. The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy, who were each shot numerous times, underwent surgery Saturday and are in critical condition. One of the officers was shot in the face and the other in the head, sources tell the Los Angeles Times. The shooting was caught on surveillance video that shows a man walking up to the parked patrol car and firing several shots into the vehicle. The gunman then runs from the scene.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the two deputies were sworn into office 14 months ago. “This is just a sober reminder that this is a dangerous job and, you know, actions, words, have consequences, and our job does not get any easier because people don’t like law enforcement,” he said. Villanueva expressed anger over anti-police sentiment. “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time,” he said.

The shooting immediately became political fodder as President Donald Trump reacted on Twitter. “Animals that must be hit hard!” Trump wrote as he retweeted the surveillance video of the shooting. The president also said that if the deputies die, there should be a “fast trial death penalty for the killer,” adding that it was the “only way to stop this!” Joe Biden also condemned the shooting. “This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice,” Biden tweeted.

Protesters gathered outside the hospital where the deputies were being treated on Saturday night. “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,” the sheriff’s department tweeted. “People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.” A reporter and a protester were arrested outside the hospital. The sheriff’s department tweeted that the reporter was arrested when she interfered with the arrest of a male protester. “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,” read a tweet. Josie Huang, a reporter for public radio station KPCC, wrote on Twitter that she was released Sunday morning. She said she had seen the tweets from the sheriff’s department and had “thoughts and videos to share soon after a little rest.” NPR said it was “appalled” by the arrest: “The rights of journalists are protected by the First Amendment, and essential to an informed public and our Democracy.”