Crime & Justice

South LA's 52nd Street Elementary locked down as police search for gunman

Screenshot: 52nd Street Elementary School
Screenshot: 52nd Street Elementary School
Via Google Maps

South L.A.'s 52nd Street Elementary School was locked down as police searched for a suspected gunman after they exchanged fire with police and FBI just before 10 a.m. this morning.

Sgt. John Pinto of the LAPD's Southwest Division said that they have taken three "persons of interest" into custody.

An officer radioed for help and reported "shots fired," and police soon flooded the area searching for the suspect, who may have been carrying a Glock pistol.

Officers were surveying the area around 53rd and Hoover as part of a task force with the FBI. As plainclothes cops were surveying a suspect, two unidentified men drove up to them in an SUV, Lt. Julian Melendez said. The man on the passenger side jumped out and began shooting at officers, who immediately returned fire, Melendez said.

The driver of the car was apprehended a few blocks away. The suspects in the car and the suspect the task force was initially canvassing are "totally unrelated," Melendez said.

"When there is an exchange of gunfire, if I may be blunt, we really go overboard in protecting our babies," said L.A. School Police Department watch commander George Sandoval.

There were at least 15 officers with the LAUSD police on scene, including a SWAT team and a K-9 unit.

Officers escorted students to the edge of the perimeter locked down by police for an early dismissal at 1:20 p.m., LAUSD school police said. The school was then taken off lockdown.

The perimeter runs along Hoover Street, 51st Street, 55th Street and Vermont Avenue.

Students at the school were being held in their classrooms, Monica Carazo of the Los Angeles Unified School District said.

Police closed some streets around the scene to accommodate their search for the gunman.

There have been no reports of injuries.

This story has been updated.