A deputy sustained minor injuries Monday when he was allegedly assaulted in Lawndale by a suspect whose SUV reeked of marijuana smoke, according to the sheriff’s department.
The deputy was doing a “routine patrol check of a local business area” about 5:35 a.m. when he saw a white Kia parked toward the rear of a restaurant lot in a strip mall in the area of South Vermont Avenue and Artesia Boulevard and approached the vehicle to see if anyone was inside, the sheriff’s department reported.
“All the local businesses in the shopping strip were closed, including the Wienerschnitzel restaurant,” according to a sheriff’s statement. “The deputy saw a lot of smoke and immediately recognized the odor of marijuana coming from inside the SUV.”
The deputy began a DUI investigation, and asked the suspect to open the SUV’s driver-side door.
“The driver appeared to be complying until the deputy asked him to remove his seatbelt and exit the SUV,” according to the sheriff’s department, which alleges the motorist then directed an expletive at the deputy and put the SUV in reverse.
“The deputy was still standing between the SUV driver door when the suspect began to back up. The driver door caught on the deputy’s gun belt and spun him sideways,” according to the statement.
As the SUV continued to move in reverse, the deputy was also struck by the side mirror and front bumper, which struck his left leg, sheriff’s officials said.
The driver, still in reverse, sped from the parking lot before heading south on Firmona Avenue, prompting the deputy begin a vehicle chase, according to the sheriff’s department.
The suspect turned east onto 172nd Street toward Hawthorne Boulevard and jumped from the still-moving SUV, which rolled across the center island of Hawthorne Boulevard and onto the 4200 block of Redondo Beach Boulevard, where it stopped after smashing into two unoccupied parked vehicles.
The suspect ran into a neighborhood north of Artesia Boulevard between Firmona and Grevilla avenues and managed to evade a perimeter search that involved air and K-9 units. The search was canceled after “a couple hours,” the sheriff’s department reported.
“The handling deputy believes the suspect was positively identified based on the vehicle owner information and the suspect was no longer an immediate threat to the public,” according to the sheriff’s department, which reported the deputy was taken to a hospital to be evaluated and treated for minor injuries.
During the search, Green Elementary School in the 4500 block of West 168th Street was placed on lockdown as a precaution.
The suspect’s name was not immediately released and it was unclear if any cannabis was found in the SUV.