Gunman Sought After Officer Injured in West Covina Shooting

The search for an attempted murder suspect continued Saturday after a West Covina police officer was shot and wounded, authorities said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department identified the suspected shooter as Jose Luis Chavez, 47. It wasn't immediately clear if Chavez was a resident of West Covina, but deputies said he is known to frequent the area.

The Sheriff's Department also said he has an extensive criminal record, but did not provide specifics. He is considered armed and dangerous, deputies said.

The shooting was reported around 11:30 p.m. Friday near N. Yaleton Avenue and Badillo Street, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Police said the officer was out on patrol when he approached a man on a bicycle who pulled out a gun. The man and officer exchange gunfire and the officer was struck in the chest, police said. It is unknown if the assailant was wounded.

The officer was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

Multiple agencies were assisting with the investigation and search for the gunman. Chavez was described as 6-feet 1-inch tall, weighing 225 pounds, with a left eyebrow piercing.

The neighborhood was on lockdown as authorities searched for him early Saturday. Investigators said Chavez may have been wounded, as they followed a trail of blood a block south of the shooting.

Circumstances leading up to the shooting were unknown, but the Sheriff's Department said Chavez fired rounds as the officer tried to detain him. 

Chavez's family said they were confused by the entire situation, revealing he was a father and talented tattoo artist. 

"I don't want to believe he actually exchanged gunfire with a police officer," Maria Tijerina, Chavez's sister, said. 

His family said he told his daughter he would be right back, and he loved her, before leaving on his bike. 

"I can't deny the fact that that's his bike," Tijerina said.

His family told NBC4 he's been to prison many times for drug related offenses but not for violent crimes.

"I've never seen him with a gun or a knife," Tijerina said.

His family had a message for Chavez: 

"I can't believe this is something you have done. You need to think about your daughter and mother."

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