When Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore stepped inside the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center room where he found the injured Harbor Station employee, he confirmed his officer had not sustained head wounds or bullet fragments, but rather, “bumps and bruises.”
In fact, the man hadn’t been shot at all, as had originally been feared.
“He is resting and will be ok,” Moore announced via an official social media update, adding he believes the police had quickly identified the suspect. “Harbor units responding, pursued suspect and took him into custody,” the police chief wrote.
The LAPD’s stations are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but officers do answer the door when there’s a knock.
On Saturday, an officer went to meet with an individual in the Harbor Station lobby, but their conversation went south quickly, Moore told reporters outside the hospital.
“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,” he said.
The suspect got three shots off, and managed to pistol-whip the officer atop head with the officer’s department-issued weapon, KNX1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reported.
The watch commander on duty saw the altercation and returned fire, Assistant Police Chief Horace Frank said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
No one was struck by any of the bullets, Peschiutta reported.
The suspect bolted, setting off a brief chase, followed by the arrest of a man who was believed to be around 29 years old, Moore said.
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 the incident is “another reminder of the danger of police work.”
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 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 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.
The protests have also led some people to drive their vehicles through groups of protesters, aggressive arrests, and shoving matches between activists and community members who are not as excited about calls for reductions to police coffers.
During a Thursday demonstration in Hollywood, highlighting perceived inequities in the Louisville grand jury decision about the Breonna Taylor case, a woman was struck by a pickup truck that drove into the crowd.