An off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer remained hospitalized Thursday after being shot with his own service weapon during a rolling gun battle in Sherman Oaks that also injured the suspect, who allegedly broke into the officer’s car and stole his weapon and bulletproof vest.
The dramatic confrontation occurred about 2:25 p.m. Wednesday when the officer, accompanied by a female companion, left his apartment and entered the subterranean locked parking garage of the complex in the 5200 block of Vesper Avenue, near Van Nuys and Magnolia boulevards.
According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, the officer discovered the suspect sitting in the officer’s car, wearing his bulletproof vest and in possession of the gun, which was in a duty bag inside the vehicle.
“As he confronts the suspect … an altercation ensues,” Moore said. “That altercation turns into what we believe to be a gun battle between the both of them, with the suspect using the officer’s primary duty weapon and the officer defending himself from that attack. This ensuing altercation goes through the subterranean garage in an easterly direction to the back side of this apartment and into an east-west breezeway, where the suspect is struck … and falls to the ground.”
Moore said the officer, who was armed with a backup handgun, approached the wounded suspect and retrieved his service weapon, then went back to his vehicle in the garage. The officer places the guns “next to the vehicle and collapses, as he has suffered multiple gunshot wounds — two to the chest and one to the side,” Moore said.
Los Angeles Fire Department units were called the scene and took the officer to a hospital. Moore said the officer was in stable condition, but suffered “traumatic” injuries.
“I spoke to him before he went into surgery. Obviously these are very traumatic injuries and he is grateful to be alive, but he is not out of the woods yet,” Moore said Wednesday afternoon.
Paramedics also tended to the wounded suspect, who was shot in a shoulder and an arm. Moore said the suspect was seen “throwing the officer’s firearm magazines over a fence” when officers and paramedics approached him to render aid.
The suspect was considered to be stable. His name was not released.
It was not immediately known how he gained access to the apartment’s garage area or the officer’s vehicle.
“I am grateful,” Moore said Wednesday afternoon at the shooting scene. “At the same time this is happening, we have an attempt murder that happened in West Valley involving a security guard and two other individuals in a shooting. … And we’re currently investigating an attack … involving a family, involving young children, that were attacked by another family member.
“So we are in trying times and these are difficult times for all of us as we come out of this pandemic. And what I ask for all of us to do is to keep all of our police officers in our prayers. They come upon these situations on and off duty and … these life-challenging circumstances are cause to make split-second decisions and I’m grateful that in this instance he apparently will survive this attack.
“From what started out as a burglary, or what started out as simply as a theft into a vehicle — the senselessness of this escalating to this level of violence really has me extremely troubled.”