Message from LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell

As most of you know by now, two of our deputies were critically injured last week after being fired upon by a suspect who failed to stop at a DUI checkpoint being conducted by Lakewood Station.Both deputies were struck by gunfire. One deputy emerged from surgery earlier this afternoon and is in critical, but stable condition. The second deputy is awaiting surgery and is in stable condition.

The suspect, a career criminal with a lengthy rap-sheet, was taken into custody by Special Enforcement Bureau after he entered a residence and took an adult male victim hostage. The hostage was able to subsequently escape unharmed after the residence was surrounded.

We continue to offer our heartfelt prayers to the deputies, their families, and their partners.This incident dramatically illustrates the challenges and dangers our deputies face every day in service to the community. It is during trying times like these that the continued outpouring of support from our LASD family, as well as the well wishes from the public at large, is meaningful and deeply appreciated. We must never forget that we are one team, one Department.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s finest were on display throughout this incident, including the decisive and heroic actions taken by Lakewood Station personnel, responding patrol personnel from stations close and far, our Special Enforcement Bureau, Homicide Bureau, Crisis Negotiations Team, and the myriad other units that responded at a moment’s notice.

Although the investigation is ongoing and far from over, here is what we know thus far: On Thursday, June 23, 2016, at approximately 10:49 PM, a DUI checkpoint was being conducted on Lakewood Boulevard in the city of Bellflower. When a vehicle drove through the checkpoint erratically and entered an adjacent residential neighborhood, a motor deputy followed the vehicle in order to conduct a traffic stop. The deputy was immediately fired upon by the suspect in the vehicle. Although struck by gunfire, our deputy was able to return fire.Deputies responding to assist also came under fire from the suspect, some of whom returned fire. A second deputy was also struck by gunfire.There were at least three distinct crime scenes where the suspect assaulted deputies with gunfire.

Deputies transported their injured partners by Department vehicles to a local hospital to be treated, all the while providing first aid and comfort.

Special Enforcement Bureau personnel determined the suspect had entered a residence and taken a hostage who later escaped unharmed. SEB personnel used their training, tactics, and specialized equipment to remove the suspect from where he had barricaded himself. The suspect surrendered to SEB deputies at the location after the introduction of teargas.

We will continue to do our best to keep the Department apprised of the situation. I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved. Once again, thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Jim McDonnell

Sheriff