2 California deputies shot in apparent ambush in patrol car

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A screen grab from a security camera video released the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shows a gunman walking up to sheriff’s deputies and opening fire without warning or provocation in Compton, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. Officials say two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot in their patrol car at a Metro rail station in what appeared to be an ambush. The sheriff’s department said the male and female deputies were shot in the head and had multiple gunshot wounds and were undergoing surgery. Deputies were searching for a suspect. (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

COMPTON, Calif. (AP) — The shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in an apparent ambush prompted a manhunt for the shooter, reaction from the president and protests outside the hospital where the wounded deputies were being treated Saturday night in California.

The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy both underwent surgery Saturday evening, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a late-night news conference. Both graduated from the academy 14 months ago, he said.

The deputies were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station and were able to radio for help, the sheriff said. Villanueva, whose department has come under fire during recent protests over racial unrest, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the officers.

“It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time,” he said.

The department shared video of the shooting in a Twitter post showing a person open fire through the passenger-side window of the patrol car.

“The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” the department stated.

The video sparked thousands of reactions, including from President Donald Trump, who responded, “Animals that must be hit hard!”

Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated.

“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 radio reporter who was near the protest scene was taken into custody, KABC-TV reported. It wasn’t immediately clear why she was detained.

Capt. Kent Wegener said officers were blanketing the area in search of a suspect seen on the video opening fire with a pistol.

“We have a very, very generic description,” he said.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. a short distance from the Compton sheriff’s station.

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