Low-quality surveillance footage that shows a figure pointing a gun into a parked car.
Surveillance footage shows a man aiming a gun at a parked LASD car on Sept. 12. Source: REX FEATURES.

Suspect Arrested for Ambush Shooting of 2 L.A. Sheriffs in Compton

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Today, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced the arrest of a suspect in the shooting of two LASD deputies on Sept. 12.

According to Lacey during this morning’s briefing, 36-year-old Compton resident Deonte Lee Murray has been charged with two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer. Investigators believe he acted alone and are not seeking additional suspects. Murray is also accused of a carjacking two weeks prior, in which he allegedly shot the driver of a black Mercedes-Benz. If convicted as charged, Lacey said Murray faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He is expected to be arraigned today.

LASD Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener laid out a timeline of the events leading to Murray’s arrest.

On Sept. 1, 11 days before the shooting, a gunman shot the driver of a black Mercedes-Benz sedan in the leg with a high-powered rifle on Bradfield Avenue in Compton. The gunman then stole the car. Wegener said investigators identified Murray as a suspect in the carjacking and a warrant was issued for his arrest. 

On Sept. 12, a man approached two deputies as they sat in their vehicle near a Compton Metro station and shot them both before fleeing the scene in a black Mercedes-Benz. Both deputies survived the attack and, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, are now recovering at home. Both face reconstructive surgeries as part of their recovery, but Villanueva expects them to return to work after they’ve healed. 

On Sept. 15 at 11:30 a.m., units from the Major Crimes Bureau Surveillance Apprehension Team located and attempted to stop Murray, who they said, fled in a 2006 Toyota Solara. At one point, according to Wegener, Murray threw a pistol out of the car window, which investigators recovered. Murray later abandoned the car and was found hiding in some bushes in the 3100 block of Carlin Avenue in Lynwood at about 9:50 p.m. He was then arrested on suspicion of carjacking. The Mercedes-Benz was found a short distance from the containment area deputies set up after Murray abandoned the Toyota.

Wegener also detailed the evidence against Murray. He said ballistic evidence matches the .40-caliber “ghost gun” Murray allegedly threw out of the car window to the pistol used in the attack on the deputies. When recovered, the gun was five rounds short of its full capacity. Wegener noted that five shots were fired in the ambush on the deputies. He also said forensic testing “conclusively linked” the pistol to Murray.

Wegener described Murray as a Compton resident with past convictions, including the sale and possession of narcotics, receiving stolen property, burglary and terrorist threats. Murray is also not allowed to own a gun as both a convicted felon and as a controlled substance offender registrant. Wegener also said Murray may be associated with gangs, but declined to name them.

Though Lacey called the attempted murders “premeditated,” none of the speakers elaborated much on how they came to that conclusion, apart from saying that Murray had allegedly been in the area for some time before the shooting.

As far as the hefty rewards offered to civilian witnesses, Wegener said some people may have a claim to monetary rewards, but that would be dependent on the arrest and conviction of a suspect.

There have been a lot of protests against police brutality in recent months, and the LASD has come under scrutiny for alleged gangs that whistleblowers claim rule stations with intimidation and violence. Yet only Villanueva brought any of that up, saying that some civilians “celebrated” the attempted murder of the deputies and wished them ill. He further defended this when pressed by members of the media.

“It’s part of the environment we’re in right now,” Villanueva said. “It’s a scary situation in the sense that there are people who have such deep-seated hatred towards law enforcement they’re willing to just kill unprovoked.”

Investigators did not offer evidence that links Murray to any of the recent protests.

Los Angeleno