A man who entered a Los Angeles Police Department station in San Pedro, took an officer’s gun and fired shots at him before fleeing was in custody Sunday, while the injured officer was expected to make a full recovery, Police Chief Michel Moore said.
The officer went out to meet with the individual in the lobby of the LAPD’s Harbor Station at 2175 John S Gibson Blvd. at about 10 p.m. Saturday, but their conversation went south quickly, Moore told reporters outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
The LAPD’s stations are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but officers do answer the door when there’s a knock.
“During the altercation, it appears at this very early stage, that the officer’s weapon was taken from him and rounds were fired by the individual at the officer,” Moore said.
The watch commander on duty saw the altercation and returned fire, Assistant Police Chief Horace Frank said, according to the Los Angeles Times. It appears that no one was struck by any of the bullets.
The suspect then bolted to a white pickup truck, setting off a brief chase, followed by the arrest of a man who was believed to be around 29 years old, Moore said. He was taken into custody in the area of Pacific Avenue and 17th Street.
The suspect, who suffered minor injuries, was treated for minor abrasions prior to being booked.
Moore said that when he stepped inside the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center room where he found the injured Harbor Station employee, he confirmed that the officer had not sustained head wounds or bullet fragments as earlier reported, but rather, “bumps and bruises.”
Moore said on social media that the officer was “resting and will be OK.”
He later told reporters, “I am grateful that the officer who was in this incident tonight was working the desk, who came out to assist this individual, to understand what his needs were, that he survived and that during this engagement, he did not lose his life. He did not suffer the injury that apparently this suspect meant to inflict.”
The incident comes two weeks after a pair of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies were injured in Compton in an unprovoked shooting at a Metro station.
City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the 15th Council District, told CBS2, “What happened here at the police station was horrible but something horrible is happening in our country. There is too much of a divide in our values in law enforcement. Let’s be reminded. Our police officers are our angels in the City of Angels. They protect us.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti was quick to show his support.
“Sending my best wishes for a quick and full recovery to our @LAPDHQ officer injured in an incident at the Harbor Station tonight,” Garcetti said on Twitter on Saturday. “The officer is in stable condition and we’re closely monitoring the situation.”
Buscaino, who served as an LAPD officer for 15 years, told CBS he feels the ripple effects of an aggressive act like this acutely.
“For us, this hits home,” he told the station. “In light of what’s taking place in our county, it’s shocking.”
Earlier Saturday, an off-duty LAPD officer had several shots fired at his car while driving in Reseda.
The San Pedro incident comes in the wake of a recent intensification of protests across the Southland that have raised questions about the role of police in the community, and treatment of minority groups by law enforcement.
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