LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A 29-year-old Los Angeles man has been charged with trying to kill two Los Angeles Police Department officers at the LAPD’s Harbor Station in San Pedro on Saturday night, prosecutors said Monday.
Jose Cerpa Guzman is set to be arraigned at the Long Beach courthouse on two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, along with one count each of second-degree robbery, evading and resisting an officer, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“I am grateful that this officer survived this brutal assault,” said LAPD chief Michel Moore, adding that the incident could have been worse.
Investigators say it’s not clear why the 29-year-old Guzman showed up at the Harbor Station or how he was able to get into the front lobby.
Once he gained access, he approached and things quickly escalated before turning violent.
The police officer fell to the ground and the suspect was able to grab hold of his gun, and then proceeded to repeatedly hit the officer in the head with it.
Moore said Guzman then pointed the gun at the officer’s chest but, for an unknown reason, the gun did not fire. Shortly after, a watch commander came out and began firing on the suspect.
The watch commander does not sit directly behind the front desk at the Harbor Station, which may be the cause of the delay in response, Moore said.
Craig Lally of the LA Police Protective League said he believes this man was looking to hurt an officer, and would have found another way in even if the door was secured.
“It’s very disturbing, it’s sickening to me,” said Lally. ” I’m going on 40 years next year, and I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never seen the amount of attacks on police officers. Not only in L.A., but across the country.”
According to Moore, LAPD has seen a 156% increase in officer assaults this year compared to last.
Lally said he blames local politicians for the increase, alleging they do not support the police force.
“We’ve got to stop with the rhetoric and give these guys some support so they can go out there and do their job,” he said.
Guzman is being held on $2.2 million bail. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.