Los Angeles County MPs ambush man arrested


LOS ANGELES – California investigators arrested and charged a man in connection with the murder of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies earlier this month as they sat in their police car, authorities said on Wednesday. Charges of attempted murder have been filed against Deonte Lee Murray, 36, District Attorney Jackie Lacey told reporters.

Murray was arrested two weeks ago in connection with a separate carjacking. He pleaded not guilty in both cases when arraigned on Wednesday. He is being held in jail on $ 6.15 million bail and is due to return to court in November.

Murray’s attorney, Jack Brennan, declined to comment. Murray faces life imprisonment if convicted.

Captain Kent Wegener of the Sheriff’s Homicide Office, who provided details of the investigation, did not suggest a specific motive for the attack “other than the fact that he clearly hates the police and wants to their death ”.

Lacey called the shooting “premeditated,” but declined to comment on what led investigators to believe her.

MPs suffered head injuries during the September 12 ambush and have since been released from hospital and are recovering. Sheriff Alex Villanueva, however, said they have to deal with other reconstructive surgeries and their recovery would be a long process.

“We have seen the worst of humanity” in the shooting, Villanueva said.

Surveillance video showed a person walking towards the patrol car, which was parked at a subway station in the city of Compton, and firing a handgun through the passenger side window. MPs radioed for help despite their injuries.

The deputies, a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man graduated together from Sheriff’s Academy 14 months ago.

Investigators determined that the suspect had fled in a black Mercedes Benz sedan and learned that this type of vehicle was stolen during a car theft on September 1 in which the driver was shot dead. A suspect was identified in the hijacking and the photographs were compared to footage of the ambush, further strengthening the link with the MPs shooting, Wegener said.

On September 15, an investigator spotted the suspect behind the wheel of another vehicle and attempted to stop him. A gun was thrown before the suspect abandoned the car in the town of Lynwood. He fled and was eventually captured. The black Mercedes was found nearby.

That day, Villanueva told reporters the car theft suspect was not linked to the ambush case. He defended his actions that misled journalists and the public on Wednesday.

“We’re not going to tell you everything we suspect,” the sheriff said, to protect the investigation.

Ballistic tests of the weapon – a so-called phantom weapon that is homemade and unregistered – thrown during the chase showed it to be the one used in the attack on MPs, Wegener said. He also noted that the weapon contained eight rounds, five less than its capacity, and that five rounds were fired at the deputies.

Authorities said Murray, a resident of Compton, had a criminal history including convictions for selling and possessing narcotics, possession of firearms, receiving stolen goods, burglary and terrorist threats. Wednesday’s criminal complaint includes allegations that he associates with gangs.

The Los Angeles Times first reported Murray’s arrest ahead of the press conference.

Compton is one of the communities near southern Los Angeles, an area with a large black population that has long been a flashpoint for racial tensions and distrust of the police.

In recent weeks, demonstrators have demonstrated to protest the deadly shootings in the region, where lawmakers killed a black man on August 31 and a black teenager in 2018.

After the ambush, a handful of demonstrators gathered in front of the hospital where the deputies were treated and tried to block the entrance to the emergency room. Videos of the scene recorded protesters shouting curses at the police and at least one shouting “I hope they… die”.

Wednesday’s announcement of the arrest in the MPs shooting follows a separate, seemingly unprovoked assault on another law enforcement officer in southern California.

A Los Angeles police officer was assaulted on Saturday night inside the Harbor Community Police Station in San Pedro.

The assailant was caught on CCTV as he threw the officer to the ground inside the post, whipped him with his pistol and pointed him to his chest. The officer is recovering from his injuries.


Correction: The summary of this story has been corrected to spell the district attorney’s last name as Lacey, not Lacy.


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