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Gunman sought as two Los Angeles police officers fight for life

Protesters gathered outside the hospital chanting ‘we hope they die’, police said.

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A screen grab from a security camera video released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department showing a gunman walking up to sheriff’s deputies and opening fire (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department/AP)

A screen grab from a security camera video released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department showing a gunman walking up to sheriff’s deputies and opening fire (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department/AP)

A screen grab from a security camera video released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department showing a gunman walking up to sheriff’s deputies and opening fire (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department/AP)

The shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in an apparent ambush prompted a manhunt for the gunman, reaction from President Donald Trump and protests outside the hospital where the wounded deputies were being treated.

The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy both underwent surgery, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a late-night news conference.

Both graduated from the academy 14 months ago, he said, adding they were likely to recover.

The deputies were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station and were able to radio for help, the sheriff said.

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President Donald Trump condemned the shooting (Andrew Harnik/AP)

President Donald Trump condemned the shooting (Andrew Harnik/AP)

AP/PA Images

President Donald Trump condemned the shooting (Andrew Harnik/AP)

“They performed in an admirable fashion in spite of grave adversity,” Mr Villanueva said on Sunday during a conversation with local religious leaders. “God bless them, it looks like they’re going to be able to recover.”

He said the wounded female deputy was able to get help for the male deputy by calling in on the police radio despite having been shot.

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“They’ve survived the worst,” he added.

Mr Villanueva, whose department has come under fire during recent protests over racial unrest, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the officers.

“It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time,” he said.

The department shared video of the shooting in a Twitter post showing a person open fire through the passenger-side window of the patrol car.

“The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” the department stated.

The video sparked thousands of reactions, including from Mr Trump, who responded: “Animals that must be hit hard!”

“This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted.

“Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”

Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated.

“To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the hospital emergency room yelling ‘We hope they die’ referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: Do not block emergency entries and exits to the hospital,” the sheriff’s department tweeted.

“People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.”

A radio reporter who was near the protest scene was taken into custody, KABC-TV reported.

The sheriff’s department later tweeted the reporter interfered with the arrest of a male protester.

“The female adult, who was later identified as a member of the press, did not identify herself as press and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person,” the department said.

After being released, Josie Huang, a reporter for radio station KPCC, tweeted she had seen the statements from sheriff’s officials and had “thoughts and videos to share soon after a little rest”.

The executive editor of the station, Megan Garvey, expressed outrage over the arrest and said her reporter appeared to be wearing her credentials and had shouted her KPCC affiliation.

Captain Kent Wegener said officers were blanketing the area in search of a suspect seen on the video opening fire with a pistol.

“We have a very, very generic description,” he said.

The incident happened at about 7pm, a short distance from the Compton sheriff’s station.

The US Justice Department will assist sheriff’s investigators with “all federal tools available,” department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said on Twitter.

Protesters have railed against the LA Sheriff’s Department for weeks over recent shootings by deputies, including the killing of a man on a bicycle last month.

“Of course, there’s an important conversation going on about policing in this country but these are folks who put their lives on the line for us and we will find justice for them,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on CNN.


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