Probe continues into shooting of 2 LA Sheriff deputies in Compton; suspect still at large

Authorities said there were no new developments in the search for the gunman who wounded two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies as they sat in their parked patrol SUV at a rail station in Compton last Saturday.

No suspects have been identified in the attack, which occurred at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Metro A (Blue) Line station at Willowbrook Avenue and Palmer Street. Surveillance video shows the suspect approaching the patrol vehicle from behind, walking up to the passenger side of the vehicle, pulling out a handgun and firing through the passenger side window. The gunman is then seen running away.

The shooter was described by the sheriff’s department as a “male Black, 28 to 30 years old, wearing dark clothing, who was last seen heading northbound on Willowbrook Avenue in a black four-door sedan.”

A 24-year-old male sheriff’s deputy who was injured in the ambush has been released from St. Francis Medical Center and will be going to a long-term care facility, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

“He has a long road ahead for recovery. But he’s not alone. We, as a community, are in this together,” Villanueva said earlier this week.

“We’re trying to see if we can transfer them to a place where they can get long-term care, but we obviously have concerns about the COVID and security concerns, so that’s going to be an ongoing issue that we are going to have to address,” Villanueva said.

A 31-year-old female deputy remained hospitalized, but was expected to survive.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors formally ratified a $100,000 reward offer Tuesday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman. Villanueva, speaking at the board meeting, said there ward had been matched and exceeded by private donors.

On Friday, the sheriff said there was “no longer a need” for private donor pledges for the reward.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support from communities all across the nation for our ambushed deputies. Currently, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors have assisted with coordinating over $280,000 in reward moneys. Additionally, we have received over $250,000 in private unsecured pledges, which will be used as reward money for information leading to the arrest and convict of the ambush suspect,” Villanueva wrote on the sheriff’s Facebook page.

Earlier this week, Villanueva denied media reports suggesting that an armed carjacking suspect arrested Tuesday in Lynwood could be the wanted gunman.

The sheriff was asked why that suspect—Deonte Murray, 36—was being held on $2 million bail, and if he was connected to the deputies’ shooting. The sheriff did not directly address the latter part of the question.

“(He) was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, and carjacking,” Villanueva said. “And he actually shot the victim with an AR-15, and stole the vehicle. So that, itself, is going to necessitate the higher bail. And he is (an) extremely dangerous person, and thankfully, he was arrested without incident—without, at least, anybody being injured.

“We continue doing a very wide-scale search and investigation on whois responsible for the ambush, and we’re chasing all leads,” Villanueva said. “And right now, it’s a lot of work we have to do; and we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Murray, who has remained behind bars since his arrest, has pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

He is due back at the Compton Courthouse on Oct. 28 to get a preliminary hearing date.

On Tuesday, Villanueva said investigators were “working day and night to identify and arrest these cowards,” referencing the gunman and a possible getaway driver.

The shooting came on the heels of a series of combative protests outside the sheriff’s South Los Angeles station, with demonstrators condemning the Aug. 31 fatal shooting by two sheriff’s deputies of 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee in the Westmont area.

Those demonstrations led to more than three dozen arrests, with the protesters accusing deputies of using excessive force and Villanueva saying demonstrators triggered the violence by hurling objects at sheriff’s deputies.

Contributions to the deputies’ long-term recovery can be made via the ALADS C.A.R.E.S. Foundation at https://alads.org/Home/Cares.  

Officials urged anyone with information about the gunman to contact the Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be left for L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or at http://lacrimestoppers.org.  

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