Detectives offered a $100,000 reward Monday for information leading to the capture of a fugitive who brazenly shot two US sheriff’s deputies at close range as they sat in their car.
The officers targeted Saturday in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles -- a 24-year-old man and 31-year-old woman -- were in critical condition, but LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he was hopeful they would pull through.
“Fortunately, they were spared any injury to a vital organ that would have jeopardized their life immediately,” Villanueva told KNX Newsradio, adding that both officers faced a long road to recovery.
He said investigators were working around the clock “to identify and arrest these cowards,” referring to the gunman and a suspected getaway driver.
Surveillance video of the incident shows the suspect -- described as an African American aged between 28 and 30 -- approach the patrol car from behind and fire through the passenger side window.
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
The female office was struck in the jaw and arms. Her partner was hit in the forehead, arms and hand.
The unexplained shooting, in a neighborhood with a high crime rate and a history of tension between the police and black community, drew media and political attention toward the dangers police face on the job and away from the national Black Lives Matter campaign focused on police shootings of African Americans.
“These are real people doing a tough job, and it just shows the dangers of the job, in the blink of an eye,” Villanueva said after the shooting.
Villanueva lashed out on Monday at protesters who showed up Saturday night at the hospital where the two officers are being treated, with some reportedly shouting “death to the police” as they tried to force their way into the emergency room.
“They were chanting that they wish the deputies died,” Villanueva told KNX. “And I don’t even know how to be begin to describe that, other than repulsive, reprehensible.”
Two people were arrested during the protest outside the hospital, including a journalist for NPR who was accused of “interfering with a lawful arrest.”
Authorities said the reporter -- Jose Huang -- had failed to identify herself as a member of the press but video from her cell phone has contradicted that assertion.