Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Hawaiian Gardens

Sheriff’s Deputy Shot in Hawaiian Gardens
By Natasha Lee and Monte Morin
Times Staff Writer

6:21 PM PDT, June 24, 2005

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was shot and critically injured this afternoon as he conducted a gang enforcement patrol near an apartment complex in Hawaiian Gardens, authorities said.

The injured deputy was discovered by a passerby at 3:10 p.m. in the 12200 block of 223rd Street. The deputy, who was not identified, was airlifted to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The deputy’s shooting was followed by a period of chaos and confusion in which scores of sheriff’s deputies descended on the area, searching for the assailant. A sheriff’s SWAT team encircled the apartment complex where it was believed the shooter could be hiding, while patrol deputies detained as many as nine potential witnesses and others in an effort to learn details of the deputy’s shooting.

“We don’t know where the shots came from,” said sheriff’s Sgt. Vanette Christensen. “A person who lived in the building called 911 and said that an officer was shot and that he was outside.”

A second deputy who was rushing to the scene slipped and fell and suffered a minor injury, according to the Sheriff’s Department. He was also taken to the hospital. “He’s going to be fine,” Christensen said.

It was unknown what the deputy was doing at the time of the shooting. Gang officers, Vanette said, do not respond to specific calls, like patrol deputies.

During the response, more than half a dozen men and women were taken from a liquor store next to the apartment complex, handcuffed and detained. Television footage showed the detainees sitting on a curb outside the liquor store as others were interviewed and had their hands swabbed and bagged by deputies searching for possible gunpowder residue.

As armored cars and helmeted deputies rolled past liquor stores and strip malls in the working class neighborhood, television news cameras showed footage of paramedics frantically giving CPR to the fallen deputy as he was wheeled to a waiting helicopter.

At Harbor-UCLA, anxious family members rushed into the hospital. Sheriff’s deputies, some in civilian clothes, embraced each other outside the hospital.

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