LOS ANGELES (AP) — Investigators have arrested and charged a man in connection with the shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies earlier this month as they sat in a squad car, authorities said Wednesday.
Attempted murder charges were filed against Deonte Lee Murray, 36, District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a press conference.
Murray was arrested two weeks ago in connection with a separate carjacking and he was expected to be arraigned later Wednesday on charges in both cases.
Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener, who detailed the investigation, did not suggest a specific motive for the attack “other than the fact that he obviously hates policemen and he wants them dead.”
The deputies suffered head wounds in the Sept. 12 ambush and have since been released from the hospital and are recovering. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, however, that they face further reconstructive surgeries and it will be a long process.
Surveillance video showed a person on foot approach the patrol car, parked at a Metro rail station in the city of Compton, and fire a handgun through the passenger-side window. The deputies were able to radio for help despite their wounds.
The deputies, a 31-year-old woman and 24-year-old man who have not been identified publicly, graduated together from the sheriff’s academy 14 months ago.
Compton is among communities near South Los Angeles, an area with a large Black population that has long been a flashpoint for racial tension and mistrust of police.
In recent weeks, demonstrators have marched to protest fatal shootings in the area, where deputies killed a Black man on Aug. 31 and a Black teenager in 2018.
After the ambush, a handful of protesters gathered outside the hospital where the deputies were treated and tried to block the emergency room entrance. Videos from the scene recorded protesters shouting expletives at police and at least one yelling “I hope they … die.”
Wednesday’s announcement follows a separate, seemingly unprovoked assault on another law enforcement officer in Southern California.
A Los Angeles police officer was attacked Saturday night inside the Harbor Community station in San Pedro. The assailant was recorded on surveillance video as he knocked the officer to the ground inside the station, pistol-whipped him with his own gun and pointed it at his chest. The officer is recovering from his injuries.