(Associated Press) Authorities were continuing to search Monday for a gunman who walked up to a parked sheriff’s squad car and opened fire, critically wounding two Los Angeles County deputies in an ambush recorded on surveillance video.
Officials asked for the public’s help in identifying the gunman in a weekend ambush after officials offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy underwent surgery after the shooting Saturday evening and were expected to recover, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Sunday.
“They performed in an admirable fashion in spite of grave adversity,” Villanueva said during a conversation with local religious leaders. “God bless them.”
The deputies, who graduated together from the sheriff’s academy 14 months ago, were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station and were able to radio for help, the sheriff said.
The department has faced criticism during recent protests over racial unrest but it’s unclear if that was a factor in the shooting. Officers have only a “very, very generic description” of the shooter to go on, officials said.
Surveillance video shows a person approach the parked patrol car on foot and shoot with a handgun through the passenger-side window.
“The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” the department stated.
An extended version of the video reviewed by the Los Angeles Times shows the shooter running away in the direction from which he came. He turns a corner out of the frame, past a second figure lingering on the sidewalk, according to the Times. It’s unclear if the second person was involved in the attack. A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.
Moments after the shooting, the passenger door opens and a deputy stumbles out, hand on head, according to the newspaper. The driver’s-side door opens soon after.
The video sparked reaction from President Trump who responded on Twitter: “Animals that must be hit hard!”
“This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted. “Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”
A handful of protesters gathered outside the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated. The protesters tried to provoke deputies stationed outside and at one point were prevented from entering the emergency room, Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez with the Churches in Action group told the TV station KABC.
“Unacceptable behavior. The hospital should be a sanctuary, we should leave hospitals alone,” he said. Mendez and members of his group gathered nearby in prayer for the wounded deputies.
Videos from the scene recorded at least one person in the crowd yelling, “I hope they … die.”