Los Angeles Police headquarters in downtown L.A. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles Police headquarters in downtown L.A. Photo by John Schreiber.

Two officers who fought off a gunman’s unprovoked attack in the lobby of the West Traffic Division will each receive a Medal of Valor, following action Tuesday by the Los Angeles Police Commission.

The commission approved Chief Charlie Beck’s request that the medals for “courageous actions” be given to West Traffic Division officers April Lockhart and Alberto Ortiz.

Both were working at the front counter on April 7, 2014, when Daniel Christopher Yealu approached, saying he wanted to make a complaint, then launched an “unprovoked ambush” by firing at the officers with a semi- automatic handgun, Deputy Chief Bill Murphy told commissioners.

During a “heated gun battle” between the officers and the gunman, Yealu was shot several times, Murphy said. He died of his injuries a week later, and Ortiz was treated for injuries to his arms and legs.

A bystander who had been making a traffic report to Ortiz in the lobby managed to crawl away to seek refuge in a restroom during the attack, Murphy said. He the shooting occurred near a room in which about 20 people were participating in a community meeting.

— City News Service

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