Los Angeles

Shots Fired During Search for Suspect in Lancaster

A man scheduled to plead guilty to a federal child pornography charge missed a court appearance and allegedly fired shots when federal law enforcement agents and LA County Sheriff's deputies were outside his home in Lancaster Wednesday, authorities told NBC4.

No agents or deputies were hurt. It was unclear if the shots were directed at the law enforcement officials or someone inside the home. The gunfire was reported as the agents arrived at a home in the 43600 block of Santa Rosa Circle and tried to locate Daniel Zekoll, 57, for a welfare check, law enforcement officials said.

Court records showed Zekoll had been scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing on Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles, during which he was expected to admit to a single federal charge of possession of child pornography. Zekoll signed a plea agreement earlier this month.

According to federal prosecutors, Zekoll's home was raided in February 2016 after an undercover agent exchanged explicit images and videos of children over a peer-to-peer file sharing network.

During the search of Zekoll's home agents said they discovered "tens of thousands of images and hundreds of videos containing child pornography both on his computer's external hard drive and on a CD-R disc labeled 'movies.'"

In court documents agents said some of the material portrayed prepubescent children used for sexual acts and children involved in sadistic or masochistic sexual conduct. The nature of the images and videos would weigh into the sentencing decision.

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