Carjacking and other charges were filed Thursday against a Compton man who was taken into custody by a sheriff’s SWAT team and K-9 while trying to leave an apartment in Lynwood, where he had been holed up for more than nine hours.
Deonte Lee Murray, 36, pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The charges — which could carry a potential 25-year-to-life state prison term — include allegations of association with a criminal street gang, discharging a rifle inflicting great bodily injury and personal use of an AR-15.
The charges stem from a Sept. 1 carjacking in Compton in which Murray allegedly confronted an unnamed victim in the 600 block of Bradfield Avenue and shot at him, injuring his leg, then took off in his vehicle, according to Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Robert Grace.
Murray was taken into custody about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday by deputies from the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau, who used tear gas to flush the suspect out and a K-9 to capture him, sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese said. Video from the scene showed Murray trying to escape over a fence behind the apartment before being captured.
Deputies were initially sent to the 3000 block of Carlin Avenue, near North Santa Fe Avenue, about noon that day. They tried to stop the suspect near Alondra Boulevard and Bradfield Avenue, but he fled and a pursuit began, authorities said. He stopped the blue Toyota Solara on Carlin Avenue and ran into the apartment, Boese said.
A robot was used to pull the apartment’s screen door off, then a smaller robot and a drone entered the apartment to search for the suspect.
The immediate vicinity was evacuated, and the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau “assumed command of the tactical response to bring about a peaceful resolution,” according to Deputy Navarro-Suarez, a sheriff’s spokesperson.
At a news conference at the scene that night, Boese was questioned about the department’s personnel and equipment tactics to arrest a carjacking suspect.
“At the time, because of the fact the suspect did use a high-powered rifle to commit this carjacking and the fact that (detectives) have been actively looking for the suspect (in the shooting of two deputies in Compton), in relation to everything that has been going on, there had been a heightened sense of awareness and it was unknown when they found this suspect if the suspect was still carrying that high-powered rifle,” Boese responded.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva told multiple media outlets Tuesday afternoon that there was not a connection between the ambush of the deputies and the carjacking suspect.
Evacuated residents on Carlin Avenue were allowed to return home about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Murray, who has remained behind bars since his arrest, is due back at the Compton Courthouse on Oct. 28 to get a preliminary hearing date.
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