Wounded LAPD officer undergoes surgery as search continues for suspect
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The police officer wounded during a confrontation in a South Los Angeles neighborhood underwent successful hand surgery today, as police continued to search for at least one suspect in the case.
“The officer underwent very successful hand surgery this morning and we expect him to have full recovery with therapy down the line,” Dr. Gudata Hinika, chief of trauma at California Hospital Medical Center said.
Hinika also said the officer was awake and alert and in good spirits.
“We expect him to be discharged tomorrow...,” Hinika said. “He has contusions to the chest from force impact but no other injuries.”
Hinika said recovery is different for every patient but generally it takes about six months of therapy to recover from this type of injury.
The surgeon that operated on the officer and removed the bullet from his right hand was Dr. Gary Chen, an orthopedic hand surgeon at CHMC who specializes in these kinds of surgeries, said Katreena Salgado, CHMC’s Public Affairs director.
Outside the hospital, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck updated reporters on the ongoing investigation into yesterday’s shooting.
Beck said a gun had been recovered but he declined to discuss the man taken into custody yesterday, saying detectives were still trying to determine what, if any, involvement the person had in the attack.
“I can tell you we are searching for at least one more person in this case,” Beck said.
The name of the wounded officer—a seven-year department veteran assigned to the 77th Street Station—has not been released.
Yesterday’s confrontation began about 2:45 p.m. as the wounded officer and his partner tried to question two men—one on a bicycle, the other on foot—near 70th Street and Western Avenue in the Chesterfield Square area, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“As they (the officers) stopped their vehicle and exited their car, one of these individuals pulled out a handgun and immediately started firing at our officer,” said police Cmdr. Andy Smith.
The officer suffered a gunshot wound to his hand and other slugs hit his protective vest. Beck said the vest probably saved the officer’s life.
At least one of the officers shot back at the pair, according to police.
The subsequent dragnet for possible suspects lasted into the night. A 72-square-block area was locked down as 100 LAPD officers—including helmeted SWAT officers—scoured the area, some going door-to-door. LAPD helicopter crews searched from above.
The suspects were described as young Black men. One was 18-25 years old, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. He was wearing a white T-shirt, black pants and black shoes, police said. The other was about the same age and size and wore a white T-shirt with blue sleeves and dark pants.
An officer-involved shooting team composed of Robbery-Homicide Division detectives was investigating the shooting.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday that violence against police was on the rise.
“For the year, we’re up substantially—29 percent—in the number of instances that our police officers have been shot at, so this is a great cause for concern,” he said.
Beck said today: “In the past seven days, this is the fourth time that people have assault Los Angeles police officers with the intention to commit great bodily injury.
“The most recent event occurred last night in Wilmington when a suspect tried to stab an officer, which resulted in a fatal officer-involved-shooting,” Beck said. The officer in that incident was treated for minor injuries, according to LAPD spokesman Richard French.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A Los Angeles police officer was shot multiple times and seriously injured today in the Hyde Park area.
Officers from the 77th Street station were questioning pedestrians near 70th Street and Western Avenue when a group of suspects opened fire around 2:45 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. One officer was shot several times and taken to a hospital in serious condition, LAPD spokesman Richard French said.
SOUTH LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Friends and family mourned the death of a 26-year-old woman who was gunned down in front of her daughter in South Los Angeles, in what police believe was a gang attack aimed at someone else.
The woman was getting out of her car at 85th Street and Western Avenue about 10:30 p.m. Christmas night when two men in a dark blue vehicle drove up and fired nine shots, striking her once in the head, before fleeing south on Western, said Lt. Peter Casey of the LAPD's 77th Street Division.
She died at the scene.
LOS ANGLES, Calif.—Residents can safely dispose of unused and expired medications at participating police and sheriff’s stations on Saturday, authorities said today.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles Police Department will hold disposal stations as part of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Take-Back Day.
LANCASTER, Calif.—A Lancaster 18-year-old wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of a 22-month-old boy and his uncle in South Los Angeles was arrested by federal marshals today.
Jaquain Smith was taken to the ground by federal marshals when he tried to run away from his Lancaster home, the Los Angeles Times reported. The location of the Lancaster residence and time of arrest were unknown.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—With one alleged suspect in custody, police will continue the search today for a man and a female believed to have been involved in the brutal assault of a San Francisco Giants fan at Dodger Stadium on opening day.
Giovanni Ramirez, 31, of Los Angeles, was taken into custody by Los Angeles police at about 7:10 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of North Mariposa Avenue. He was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon—the foot he used to kick his victim—and held in lieu of $1 million bail.