‘These are some tough deputies’

Mean­while, scru­tiny grows over the ar­rest of a re­porter cov­er­ing protests at the hos­pi­tal.

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Richard Win­ton

Two L.A. sher­iff ’s deputies are on the mend af­ter be­ing shot in pa­trol car in Comp­ton.

A thick layer of blood cov­ered her tan shirt, part of her Los An­ge­les County sher­iff ’s uni­form. She was bleed­ing from her face.

Min­utes be­fore, she and her part­ner work­ing tran­sit se­cu­rity were sit­ting in their pa­trol car at the Comp­ton Metro sta­tion when a gun­man ap­proached and opened fire. A bul­let went through the 31-year-old deputy’s mouth, and she was hit in the arms. Her male part­ner, 24, was more badly wounded, shot in the head as well as the arm and shoul­der, ac­cord­ing to a sur­veil­lance cam­era video of the at­tack and in­ter­views.

But the deputy, the mother of a 6-year-old boy, man­aged to get out of the cruiser and help her part­ner hide be­hind a con­crete pil­lar for safety, not know­ing if the gun­man was still in the area. She then ap­plied a tourni­quet to her part­ner’s arm, which was bleed­ing pro­fusely.

The video shows her part­ner col­laps­ing to the ground, but she re­mained stand­ing, look­ing out for the man who shot them.

“These are some tough deputies,” said L.A. County Sher­iff Alex Vil­la­neuva.

Mo­ments af­ter the shoot­ing Satur­day at sun­down, the fe­male deputy called for help, her mouth so wounded her words came out gar­bled.

“998 Comp­ton Pax,” she said, us­ing the code for a deputy-in­volved shoot­ing. “Comp­ton Pax, deputies down.”

A sec­ond voice, the male deputy, is heard on the ra­dio call: “Been shot in the head.”

Both deputies un­der­went surgery Satur­day night and Sun­day morn­ing. They are ex­pected to re­cover but will prob­a­bly re­quire ad­di­tional surg­eries, sher­iff’s of­fi­cials said. Their names have not been re­leased.

Four­teen months be­fore, in July 2019, the two deputies walked across a stage at East Los An­ge­les Col­lege and were pre­sented with cer­tifi­cates as part of sher­iff ’s academy class 437.

The class of 67 re­cruits re­flected L.A. County’s rich ta­pes­try of cul­tures. Four were born out­side the U.S.: in In­dia, South Korea, China and Mex­ico. A video of the grad­u­a­tion shows the fe­male deputy smil­ing as she

walks across the stage to the cheers of her fam­ily.

Within the depart­ment, col­leagues praised the deputies’ tac­tics in re­sponse to the shoot­ing.

Sher­iff’s Lt. Bran­don Dean, who is lead­ing the shoot­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said it made sense for them to get out of the ve­hi­cle, where they were vul­ner­a­ble, and move to a more se­cure lo­ca­tion.

“They moved to a po­si­tion of ad­van­tage,” he said.

With a con­crete wall be­hind them and pil­lars pro­tect­ing them, they hun­kered down.

As they hud­dled, more of­fi­cers ar­rived. Opt­ing not to wait for paramedics, they took the wounded deputies to St. Fran­cis Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Lyn­wood. The fe­male deputy’s hus­band rushed to the hos­pi­tal, as did the male deputy’s girl­friend and par­ents.

The Sher­iff’s Depart­ment ini­tially said both were fight­ing for their lives, and ru­mors swept the depart­ment that one had died. But af­ter surgery, it be­came clear they would re­cover.

Mean­while, the search con­tin­ues for the gun­man. Of­fi­cials have not iden­ti­fied a sus­pect or sug­gested a mo­tive.

On Mon­day, Vil­lanueva chal­lenged Los An­ge­les Lak­ers star LeBron James to dou­ble a $175,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest of the as­sailant. The re­ward grew by $25,000 as L.A.’s Metropoli­tan Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity con­trib­uted to the fund.

At the same time, there was grow­ing scru­tiny over sher­iffs’ de­ci­sion to ar­rest a re­porter for KPCC and LAist who was cov­er­ing protests out­side the hos­pi­tal. Video showed the re­porter, Josie Huang, pinned by sev­eral deputies.

Huang re­ceived a ci­ta­tion for al­legedly ob­struct­ing a peace of­fi­cer.

L.A. County In­spec­tor Gen­eral Max Hunts­man said Sun­day he had opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ar­rest, as well as an in­ci­dent Fri­day in which deputies forced peo­ple to leave a park­ing lot af­ter a news con­fer­ence by crit­ics of the depart­ment. “Those two in­ci­dents are of con­cern to us be­cause 1st Amend­ment rights are ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal to the pub­lic’s re­spect of law en­force­ment,” he said. “And so we feel that re­quires im­me­di­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Ge­naro Molina Los An­ge­les Times

NA­JEE ALI, di­rec­tor of Project Is­lamic Hope, left, hands Sgt. Larry Vil­lareal of the Los An­ge­les Sher­iff’s Depart­ment gifts Mon­day for the two deputies re­cov­er­ing at St. Fran­cis Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Lyn­wood.

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