Security video circulated Tuesday showed a man — who was later arrested — attacking a Los Angeles Police Department officer on Saturday night in the lobby of the department’s Harbor Station in San Pedro.
Jose Guzman 29, was booked on suspicion of attempted murder in the 10 p.m. attack at the station at 2175 John S Gibson Blvd., and was being held on $2.2 million bail, according to the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office was not immediately available to comment on whether detectives had presented their evidence for prosecution.
The video showed the suspect pistol-whipping the officer in the head multiple times with the officer’s own gun after the officer went out to meet with him in the lobby of the station. The suspect then pointed the weapon at the officer, and ran out the door.
The watch commander at the station came out to help moments later, and the suspect starting shooting, prompting the officer to return fire. Investigators say no one was hit during the exchange of gunfire.
The officer was expected to make a full recovery, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said. The officer, whose name was not released, reportedly has more than 30 years of service with the department.
It was unclear how the suspect got inside the station. Moore told reporters that LAPD stations are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but officers do answer the door when there’s a knock.
After fleeing the station, the suspect ran to a white pickup truck, setting off a brief chase. He was taken into custody in the area of Pacific Avenue and 17th Street. The officer’s gun was found in the truck, police told CBS2
Guzman, who suffered minor injuries, was treated for minor abrasions prior to being booked. Moore said on social media that the officer was “resting and will be OK.”
Moore 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 came 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, said: “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.”
Buscaino served as an LAPD officer for 15 years.
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.”
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.
On Tuesday, Moore told the Police Commission that assaults against police officers have risen 156% compared to this time last year.
The chief said 282 alleged felony assaults have taken place against LAPD officer compared to 110 this time last year. He also said most of the incidents took place during ongoing protests against police brutality that began in late May.