LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A desk officer shot several times by a suspect at the LAPD’s West Traffic Division was not wearing a bulletproof vest as previously reported, the police department announced Tuesday.
“An amazing story of survival,” Chief Charlie Beck said. “It is an amazing story that he will be here with us.”
A lone gunman walked into the lobby of the Mid-City building around 8 p.m. Monday, told officers he had a complaint and then started shooting with a .40-caliber glock.
A male and female officer fired back.
The unidentified seven-year male veteran officer was hit at least three times without a protective vest. He was struck twice in the shoulder and once in the side. A fourth bullet pierced his front pants pocket.
The officer was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was listed in good condition.
“They responded courageously, they did what we expect them to do, but it’s more than expectation, it’s a hope because, believe me, courage under fire is a very difficult thing,” Beck said.
The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Daniel Christopher Yealu, was wounded and taken into custody. He was listed in critical condition after undergoing surgery.
Police said they recovered an arsenal, including hundreds of rounds of ammunition, in the suspect’s Palms-area apartment. They also discovered an assault weapon in the back seat of his car.
Residents who live in the suspect’s apartment building said they didn’t know anything about Yealu.
“We never really exchanged conversation, nothing. He just kinda…head down…just keeps walking,” Pete Ciotti said. “He’s in his own little bubble.”
“He would walk right past you, really scarily, actually,” Mike H. said.
KCAL9’s Serene Branson reported that Yealu was a licensed security guard from July 2005 to Dec. 2013. He also reportedly had a firearms permit from July 2007 to Dec. 2013.
Yealu applied to the Los Angeles Police Academy in 2009, but was not hired, according to Cmdr. Andrew Smith.
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reported Daphne Brogdon, a board member of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council, was in the community room just off the corridor where the gunman walked into the lobby and opened fire.
“There were four big shots and then there were more shots and then a bullet came into our room,” Brogdon said. “We saw the plaster flying…there was some shouting, we couldn’t really tell what anybody was saying, but we were terrified.”
John Jake was also at the community meeting.
“When the first shot rang out, I told people to ‘Get down, get down to the floor. Lay on the ground,’” he said.
“‘Bang, bang, bang.’ People were terrified,” Jake added. “You had a guy on the floor calling the police station, and we were at the police station, and there was a shooting at the police station.”
The LAPD Tuesday planned to serve multiple search warrants at undisclosed locations throughout the city in relation to the investigation.
Asked if the shooting will prompt a review of security measures at LAPD divisions across the city, Beck said, “We have to review security at police stations, airports, movie theaters, grade schools, preschools, and campuses. Active shooters, which is what this is, have great access to many places in our society where a lot of people and targets are available. I just thank God that we had two Los Angeles police officers that were willing to put their lives on the line to stop this attack.”