LAPD chief Charlie Beck describes a shooting this morning outside the department’s Wilshire division as “a blatant attempt to assassinate two of the people who protect this community”.
Two Los Angeles police detectives were returning to the police station when a man opened fire on them at 4:30 a.m. local time. The suspect is described as wearing all-black clothing with a black hat and black shoes. One officer was hit in the hand, the other in the head, though it is not yet known whether he was hit by a bullet or by flying glass. Neither injury was life threatening, but the detectives were taken to the hospital. They were later released, are back on the job, and in good spirits.
The detectives exchanged fire with the gunman, but he escaped, and a massive manhunt was launched. Every LAPD K-9 unit has been brought to bear in the manhunt, as well as four K-9 units from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Some 200 officers are involved in the operation.
The two officers are undercover burglary detectives, and were not in uniform. But given the fact that they were in an unmarked police car waiting to enter a police substation parking lot, officials are quite sure the shooter was intentionally targeting the police. Whether he was specifically targeting these two officers, or even only one of them, remains to be seen.
The police are considering the shooter very dangerous, given the brazen nature of the attack. Commander Andy Smith said, “They knew that these were police officers or police employees. Anybody willing to take on two police officers outside a police station is obviously a dangerous individual.”
Tensions are understandably high. A few people have been detained during the manhunt, particularly men who were seen running. Three have been questioned and released. A fourth is still being questioned.