A wounded Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy, who rushed to the aid of her partner after the pair were both ambushed and shot several times by an unidentified gunman on Saturday, was a librarian before joining the force, officials said.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy Claudia Apolinar, 31, had been shot in the jaw when she applied a tourniquet to her critically injured 24-year-old partner and called for an ambulance, according to newly released video of the incident.
"She helped the other wounded deputy, got on the radio, provided medical care, got him to a place of safety 'cause they didn't know if there was another attack coming their way," Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
The shooting, which occurred shortly before 7 p.m. on Sept. 12 outside an MTA bus terminal in Compton, was captured on surveillance video. Grainy footage of the shooting showed an unidentified individual approach the squad car where two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were seated. The individual draws what appears to be a pistol and fires multiple shots “without warning or provocation,” into the vehicle. The gunman then flees the scene on foot.
"I've been shot. Send help," one of the deputies is heard telling emergency dispatchers, KABC reported.
Both deputies suffered multiple gunshot wounds, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva described the shooting as “cowardly.”
“We want everyone to have a prayer for them, for their recovery at this time,” Villaneuva said. “This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job.”
He told CNN, “It pisses me off.”
Both deputies underwent surgery at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and are reported as being in stable condition.
“They’re recovering but they took some very serious wounds so it’s going to be a long path of recovery for both of them,” Villanueva told KABC.
Meanwhile, the manhunt for the gunman, who has not been arrested, has accelerated. The suspect is still at large.
Detectives said the gunman, who was wearing dark clothing, is believed to be a Black male, between the age of 28 and 30. He’s believed to have fled the scene in a black four-door sedan.
“We strongly condemn this cowardly ambush [and] stand prepared to offer aid,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement a day after the shooting.
Apolinar, a mother of a 6-year-old, worked as a librarian before entering law enforcement, Fox News reported.
“Whatever issues we have, we have to come to the table and dialogue,” Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez told KABC. “We need to talk to one another. We can’t resolve our issues by shooting one another.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, anti-police protesters who showed up at the hospital chanted, “We hope the deputies die,” some witnesses claimed.
“We’re here to say we hope the deputies live,” community activist Najee Ali said in response, according to KABC.
Josie Huang, a local radio journalist for KPCC, was allegedly thrown to the ground and later arrested by authorities outside the hospital while covering the protests. Police said she did not have proper press credentials, according to NPR. However, Huang, who shared multiple videos of her violent arrest, appears to identify herself as a reporter moments before she’s detained by officers. She was charged with obstructing police.
Anyone with information related to the shooting is urged to call the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500 or by submitting an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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