LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles area youth football coach is trying to clear his name after social media posts accused him of shooting and injuring two sheriff’s deputies.
A 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy were critically injured after an unknown shooter walked up to their patrol vehicle outside the Metro Blue Line station in Compton on Saturday, September 12, and opened fire.
No suspect has been formally identified by the LASD, and the department sent out a tweet denying the reports that they had their sights set on a specific person.
“Currently, there is a social media post that is being circulated which identifies a male out of the Los Angeles area as the suspect responsible for the ambush of our 2 deputies yesterday. This is ERRONEOUS information and there are no named or wanted suspects at this time,” the sheriff’s department said.
Darnell Hicks, the man who was incorrectly named as a suspect, said he’s stunned by the accusation and afraid for the safety of his daughter and grandmother after receiving death threats.
“I have no idea how my driver’s license and information got out there, and that’s where I lay my head. You never know what people can do. They can pull up at my house,” Hicks told CBS 2.
Hicks’s lawyer said although the LASD clarified Hicks was not a suspect, that their description of the suspect being “a dark-skinned” man was too vague and put African-American men like Hicks at risk of wrongful accusations.
“He doesn’t have any past that would possibly suggest that he could have done something like this,” Hicks’s lawyer Brian Dunn. “Whoever did this wanted to start a war.”
The reward leading to the arrest of the shooter is at over $300,000.
A GoFundMe set up for the deputies, who LASD said they won’t name until the shooter is caught, has raised over $583,000.