This Man Shot Deputy In Back Of Head, Changed Clothes, And Escaped

A man whom authorities are calling a person of interest in the shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has been detained, sheriff’s officials confirmed Tuesday.

Long Beach police spotted a vehicle around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday that matched the description of the SUV driven by the assailant, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Officers stopped the vehicle and detained the driver in the 2400 block of Granada Avenue in Long Beach, police said. The driver’s name was not immediately provided.

The deputy, a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, was off duty and waiting for his meal at the Jack in the Box on Valley Boulevard in Alhambra about 5:45 p.m. Monday when he was shot once in the head. He was rushed to County-USC Medical Center and remains in critical condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

“Whomever carried out this cowardly attack; we won’t rest until we find you and ensure justice is brought swiftly upon you,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva wrote on Twitter late Monday.

Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to establish a $50,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest. The Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies, also pledged $50,000 of its funds toward a reward for information in the case, said the organization’s president, Det. Ron Hernandez.

“We are hoping this will inspire someone to come forward. The images are pretty clear. Maybe someone recognizes the person and is just reluctant [to speak up],” Hernandez said.

The deputy’s name has not been released, but law enforcement sources told The Times he works in the department’s custody division, assigned to County-USC Medical Center where he supervises and transports inmates who need medical care.

Given the circumstances of the attack, detectives are investigating whether the deputy was intentionally targeted by the shooter. He was off duty and wearing plain clothes with no holster, badge or anything to signify he was a law enforcement officer, Capt. Kent Wegener said at a news conference Monday night.

Authorities have not been able to determine a specific motive in the shooting, which was captured on video, Wegener said.

“There doesn’t appear to be an overt motive,” he said. “There is no audio to the video, so we don’t know if there were words exchanged. At this point we are interviewing witnesses that were at the scene and reviewing evidence.”

Authorities released these photos of the man they suspect shot an off-duty sheriff's deputy on Monday.
Authorities released these photos of the man they suspect shot an off-duty sheriff’s deputy on Monday. (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

The assailant was wearing jeans, a button-down short-sleeved shirt, a fedora and sunglasses at the time of the shooting, but changed his clothing in a nearby neighborhood after the shooting. A residential security camera captured an image of him, authorities said.

The shooter is described as a male in his 20s, between 5 feet 9 and 5 feet 11, believed to be wearing a black T-shirt and black pants. He left the scene in a 2006 Kia Sportage, or similar model, with paper plates.

At Monday night’s news conference, Wegener said anyone hiding the man could face serious consequences.

“It’s time to turn him in,” Wegener said. “You don’t want to be associated with this man, and the Sheriff’s Department is going to spare no resources to locate this suspect.”

Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to contact the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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