LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - Police said they still want to question the driver of a vehicle who fled following an officer-involved shooting that left a Los Angeles police gang officer and a suspect wounded.
The search for the driver was discontinued after investigators reviewed evidence which led them to believe the suspect who was shot was the one who shot the officer; although investigators are still trying to identify the driver, described as a male Black, 6’2”, 180 lbs.— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) April 21, 2019
The officer, part of the Newton division gang enforcement unit, was said to be in stable condition following surgery and was with his family at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
The wounded suspect was also hospitalized, police said, and was reportedly in critical but stable condition.
A citywide tactical alert was issued late Saturday, keeping all officers on shift, and a perimeter was set up in the vicinity of 52nd Street and Long Beach Avenue shortly after the shooting. Los Angeles police posted a warning on Twitter saying residents should avoid the area if possible and to expect a "large police presence."
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies and officers from other departments also assisted with the search, which was bounded by Vernon and Slauson avenues and Compton Avenue and Alameda Street, police said.
Metro officials suspended Blue Line Services between Washington Boulevard and Florence Avenue while the police activity continued. A Metro Bus shuttle was set to supplement service during the suspension, but delays were expected.
The gang officer was patrolling in South Los Angeles when he made a traffic stop shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday in the area of 52nd Street and Long Beach Avenue, pulling over a vehicle with just one occupant, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Mehgan Aguilar said.
A foot chase ensued when the driver bolted, Aguilar said. Officers chased the man and after "100-150 yards another man appeared, armed with a firearm and there was an exchange of gunfire between the officer and the suspect. Both the suspect and officer were struck," police said in a news statement.
Police recovered a firearm at the scene, she said.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore acknowledged the dangers of gang enforcement, and asked residents to keep the wounded officer in their prayers this Easter Sunday.
Tonight, @NewtonLAPD Gang Officers, who are given a tough & dangerous job, confronted every officer’s worst fear—gunfire. One of the officers was shot & rushed to a local area hospital where he’s now in stable condition. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts & prayers.— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) April 21, 2019
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also noted the risks "the brave men and women" of the Los Angeles Police Department face each day.