COMPTON — Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has announced the arrest of a Compton resident in connection with the ambush shooting of two deputies at the Compton metro station Sept. 12.
“We have found our suspect,” Villanueva said at a Sept. 30 press conference. “Our entire department rallied together, securing the crime scene and transporting the deputies to the hospital.”
“Today my office filed attempted murder charges against Deonte Lee Murray,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “We believe the evidence in this case is strong and supports our filing decision.
“I would like to send my best wishes to the two deputies whose lives have been changed forever by these cowardly acts,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey. “They became victims of a violent crime for doing their job and wearing a badge … .”
The two deputies were ambushed while sitting in their patrol car outside the Compton Metro Station. The shooting was caught on camera and appeared to involve multiple persons.
Eleven days prior to the shooting, Murray was involved in the carjacking of a Mercedes sedan and subsequently shot the driver with a high-powered gun. On Sept. 15 he was spotted by authorities, and after a high-speed chase, Murray discarded a gun from his window, and fled on foot into a neighborhood in the city of Lynwood.
Deputies set up a containment area and found Murray hiding in the bushes and recovered the stolen Mercedes nearby.
Capt. Kent Wegener, head of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, said there was initially no link between Murray and the shooting of the Compton deputies, at the time he was arrested on carjacking charges. The recovered gun was processed and ballistics and forensic evidence tied the gun and Murray to the deputy shooting.
Earlier reports suggested the stakeout of Murray was related to the investigation into the attack on the deputies.
Sources familiar with the investigation said the motive for the “ambush-style” attack on the deputies appears to center on a long-running conflict between two local street gangs and law enforcement. Wegener declined to share which gangs Murray is affiliated with.
Wegener has described Murray as a resident of Compton with a history of felony convictions for sales and possession of narcotics, receiving stolen property and terrorist threats.
“If our investigation concludes Murray’s actions were in conjunction with a gang, charges would be amended,” Lacey said.
Villanueva thanked the community for its support. The wounded deputies received calls from both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, and countless citizens from across the nation supported the deputies through contributions to the reward fund.
“Two kids in Santa Clarita set up a pop stand to raise money towards the reward,” Villanueva said.
Members of the public were instrumental in providing tips to the deputies, and could be eligible to share in the reward, which has reached $675,000, for the arrest and conviction of Murray.
Murray is believed to have been acting alone and the investigation remains ongoing.
Murray has been charged with two felony counts of willful deliberate and pre-meditated attempted murder of a peace officer. After his arrest two weeks ago, in connection with a carjacking, he also faces attempted murder, carjacking, robbery and assault in that incident.
The criminal complaint was amended with new attempted murder charges for the deputy-involved shooting.
Murray was arraigned Sept. 30 at the Compton Courthouse. He pleaded not guilty to two counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a felon. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.
Murray, who is due back in a Compton courtroom Nov. 17, was ordered to remain behind bars. His bail was increased from just over $1 million to $6.15 million as a result of the new charges.
City News Service contributed to this story.