EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were seriously wounded and a suspect was killed in a gun battle Wednesday night in East L.A. following a chase.
The deputies, one shot in the shoulder and the other in the jaw, were in stable condition as of Thursday morning. A second suspect was hospitalized with undisclosed injuries and a third was arrested.
The incident began before 6:20 p.m. when deputies responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at 6th Street and Bonnie Beach Place.
The two responding deputies spotted a vehicle with the three suspects and began to follow it, the sheriff’s department reports, leading to a slow-speed chase. The vehicle then came to a stop in Salazar Park off Whittier Boulevard.
At that point, one suspect got out of the car and opened fire on the deputies, striking them both, LASD reports.
More deputies then responded to the scene and more gunfire was exchanged.
Witness Fernando Mercado said he ran outside when he heard gunshots.
“Actually, I was sitting in my living room waiting for my wife to come by,” Mercado said. “All of a sudden, we see a black car go by with about three cop cars run after it. First, they were going really slow. I came outside to see what was going on. They jumped the curb at the park.”
Mercado said he heard more than a dozen shots.
“Possibly more than 15,” he added.
During the exchange of gunfire, one of the suspects was shot and killed. A second suspect was somehow injured and a third was arrested at the scene, the sheriff’s department said.
Meanwhile, the two wounded deputies were transported to nearby LAC+USC Medical Center by their fellow deputies in patrol cars.
“For any of us to decide to transport someone as opposed to waiting for paramedics is something that you’ll live with for the rest of your life,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said. “Thankfully, in this case, the decision was a good one. They transported them to a trauma center.”
McDonnell met with the deputies’ families before speaking to reporters Wednesday night from the hospital.
“We’re very fortunate that they’re in serious but stable condition,” McDonnell said. “This could’ve ended up very differently tonight.”
McDonnell described the two deputies as “seasoned veterans” in their 30s.
“Both have over 10 years on the job,” McDonnell said. “I don’t want to go into details on the injuries in the upper body, but they’re in good hands here at this hospital.”
Salazar Park was still closed Thursday morning while the sheriff’s department investigates.
No names were released. The crime for which the suspects were initially wanted was not confirmed.