Crime & Justice

Sheriff patrol car hit by gunfire in Compton, suspect killed

Credit: LASD

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A suspect was shot and killed in the second of two apparently related deputy-involved shootings in Compton early Thursday morning. 

Officials with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said they believe the shootings stemmed from the same protracted incident, which began after 2 a.m. when deputies tried to pull over a stolen car and were shot at by someone inside the vehicle during a chase.

After crashing the car, multiple suspects got out and ran, one pointing a gun at deputies. 

“It is at that point that the deputies returned fire at the suspect,” Katz said.

Katz said the patrol car was hit by bullets, but no deputies were hurt. 

Deputies swarmed the neighborhood and Special Enforcement Bureau officers did a house-by-house search for the suspects. They took one man, who was allegedly hiding in a nearby house into custody. 

A second man, who was "hiding in a yard" was shot after he first refused to obey commands and then "charged at the deputies," sheriff's officials said in a statement. According to the statement, deputies believed the man was armed.

No gun has been found as of yet. 

According to Los Angeles Sheriff Department data, there have now been 16 deputy involved incidents where deputies intentionally fired at one or more suspects so far in 2016. Four of those incidents, including Thursday morning's, occurred in Compton.

The area has also seen a number of recent incidents where law enforcement officers came under fire. 

In addition to Thursday's incident, a man pulled over at a DUI checkpoint allegedly shot and injured two deputies in late June in Bellflower, two towns east of Compton. The suspect was taken into custody.

A Los Angeles Police Officer was shot and injured in Watts Monday night. In that case, an 18-year-old suspect was shot and killed. 

Compton, like other patches of South L.A., has seen crime rise in the first half of 2016. 

According to statistics compiled by the sheriff's department, the crime rate in Compton was up 5 percent from the same time last year as of June 30. 

There were 21 reported murders in Compton in the first half of the year, compared to last year's nine at the same midyear point. 

Violent crime is also up in the city over 2015.

In relation to Thursday's incident, the sheriff's department said the stolen car being driven by the suspects had been "stolen earlier that night, in an armed car-jacking in the South Los Angeles area."

The man who deputies shot and killed as well as the man arrested matched the description of the car-jackers, sheriff's officials said.        

Katz described the gun-pointing suspect as "a male black, 20 to 30 years of age, last seen wearing a dark colored jersey, dark colored clothing, with a particular haircut — a fade kind of haircut.”

Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner - Coroner said he could not yet identify the dead man. He said the deceased suspect was a “male black in his 20's.”

Katz said so far, officials do not know if the suspect was armed when he was shot, adding that the investigation is ongoing and the area still has to be searched for evidence. The Sheriff's Homicide Bureau has not been able to interview the deputies involved, Katz added.

The Sheriff's Homicide Bureau will lead the investigation, assisted by the Internal Affairs bureau. The Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney will also conduct a legal analysis of the incident.