Wave Wire Services
COMPTON — Sheriff’s department officials 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 Sept. 12.
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 has been placed in 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 last week.
A 31-year-old female deputy remained hospitalized, but was expected to survive.
Last week, Villanueva denied media reports suggesting that an armed carjacking suspect arrested Sept. 15 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 who is 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.
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 South Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, with demonstrators condemning the Aug. 31 fatal shooting by two sheriff’s deputies of 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee in the Westmont area.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors formally ratified a $100,000 reward offer Sept. 15 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman. Villanueva, speaking at the board meeting, said the reward had been matched and exceeded by private donors.
On Sept. 18, 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.
He added that 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) 222-8477, or at http://lacrimestoppers.org.