COMMERCE (CBSLA) – A woman was killed and a man was wounded after they allegedly physically assaulted a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy early Friday morning in Commerce, prompting him to open fire on them. The deputy also suffered facial injuries, but not from a gunshot wound.
The incident occurred in the 5700 block of Whittier Boulevard, near Gerhart Avenue, at around 3:50 a.m., after the deputy responded alone to a 911 call about someone setting fires at a gas station.
“The call stated that there was a male lighting items on fire and throwing them toward the gas pumps,” LASD Lt. Derrick Alfred told reporters.
According to Alfred, a deputy responded and found a man in his 20s standing behind a Chevrolet Tahoe. The man initially seemed compliant, but when the deputy asked him to walk forward, the man attacked him.
“The deputy was on the ground, with the male on top of him,” Alfred said. “A female, about 40-years-old, then exited the Tahoe that was parked there and ran over to the fight. She had some kind of object. She reached over the male on top of the deputy and stabbed the deputy once, possibly twice, in the face.”
Deputies later said they found a knife under the female.
At that point, the deputy pulled out his handgun and fired two or three times, shooting both the woman and the man, Alfred said.
The woman died at the scene. The man was rushed by ambulance to a hospital where he underwent surgery and was in critical condition. Their names have been released.
The deputy was taken to a hospital as well, where doctors sutured gashes on his face, Alfred said. He has been treated and released.
Meanwhile, other responding deputies arrived on scene to find a witness who said he had been passing by, spotted the fire and put it out.
Investigators are going through the gas station’s security cameras for possible video evidence. The deputy was also wearing a body camera… so any video it recorded will be closely studied.
“The helicopters kept going around and around my house, and so I got up, and I looked out, and I said, ‘Something big is happening,’” neighbor Alice Hernandez told CBSLA.
At this point, investigators say they do not know the relationship between the man and the woman, or why he was apparently lighting fires.