What to Know
- A man arrested after a car chase and standoff in Lynwood was charged Wednesday with attempted murder in the shooting of two deputies in Compton.
- Authorities say a pistol discarded while being pursued by sheriff's investigators prior to the standoff was the one used to shoot the sheriff's deputies.
- Deonte Lee Murray had already been charged in a carjacking, and Sheriff Alex Villanueva initially said the Lynwood standoff was unrelated to the deputy attack case.
Attempted murder charges have been filed in an attack on two LA County Sheriff's Department deputies who were shot while seated in a patrol car at a transit station in Compton.
Officials announced the charges against Deonte Lee Murray at a Wednesday news conference. He was arrested Sept. 15 after a stakeout, car chase, and search in Lynwood that Sheriff Alex Villanueva initially said was unrelated to the deputy attack case.
Murray pleaded not guilty in the carjacking case and was expected to return to court in late October for a hearing. Court and jail records showed he had been suddenly ordered to court in Compton Wednesday morning without an indication of the reason for the hearing.
The two deputies were shot Sept. 12 while they were seated in a marked patrol car parked at a transit station in Compton. Five rounds were fired at the deputies and it is believe he acted alone, investigators said.
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"They became victims of a violent crime for one reason — they were doing their job and they were wearing the badge," LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said Wednesday in announcing the charges.
One of the two, a 31-year-old woman, was shot in the face. Her partner, a 24-year-old man, was shot in the upper body. Both survived and are recovering at home.
Multiple law enforcement sources told NBC4 the deputy shooting investigation had almost immediately focused on two Compton-area street gangs. The sheriff's declined to comment on a specific motive for the attack.
"There are people who have such deep-seated hatred against law enforcement that they're just willing to kill anybody unprovoked," Villanueva said.
Lacey said the charges could be enhanced if there's evidence that the attack was done to benefit a gang.
Security video from the transit station showed a man wearing dark clothing approach the passenger side of the patrol car, raise a handgun, and fire numerous rounds through the front passenger window at the deputies. The gunman then turned and ran from the scene, and at least one witness said a dark Mercedes-Benz with a second person driving served as a getaway car, according to sheriff's officials.
Sheriff's homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said the black Mercedes sedan was stolen in the carjacking for which Murray was previously arrested and charged. Wegener said a pistol that Murray discarded while being pursued by sheriff's investigators prior to a standoff in Lynwood was the one used to shoot the sheriff's deputies in Compton.
"At the time of the arrest... following the vehicle pursuit, we had no evidence that he was responsible for the assault on our deputies," Wegener said. "We knew that he was a violent offender, he was accused of stealing a black Mercedes-
Benz, and live in the area. However, there was insufficient evidence to support an arrest."
Last week, sheriff's detectives and members of the Special Enforcement Bureau, its SWAT team, served search warrants at a home near the location of the Sept. 15 stakeout that led to Murray's arrest as part of the investigation into the attack on the deputies.
That home was also the scene of a standoff Sept. 10 when deputies from the Sheriff's Department's Operation Safe Streets unit in Norwalk served a search warrant and a man inside, later identified as Samuel Herrera, Jr., was shot and killed during a standoff with deputies.