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LAPD Officer Wounded in Shootout at End of Pursuit in South Bay Area

A running gun battle followed the pursuit of an armed man wanted in a March 31 gang-related homicide

A Los Angeles Police Department officer and a murder suspect were shot Thursday at the end of a pursuit that stretched from South Los Angeles to the border of Hawthorne and El Segundo.

The officer, a 20-plus-year LAPD veteran assigned to the SWAT unit, was shot in a hip and is expected to recover, Chief Charlie Beck said. The suspect was shot multiple times and was in serious condition, according to Beck. Police said the suspect was in surgery around midday.

The suspect streamed the incident on Facebook Live and the video, which has been taken down, is now part of the investigation, according to LAPD Officer Sal Ramirez.

Los Angeles police were serving warrants shortly before 10 a.m. near 117th Street and Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles, seeking four suspects wanted in connection with a March 31 gang-related homicide in the southwest area of the city, Beck said.

While trying to serve the warrants, the officers spotted one of the suspects driving off in a blue car, prompting a chase that ended near El Segundo and Aviation boulevards.

"That pursuit led to this location where the individual who was wanted for the murder that occurred in Southwest area fled from his vehicle armed with a handgun," Beck said at the scene. "A gunfight ensued between the individual and the pursuing officers, resulting in one of our SWAT officers being shot in the hip, and the individual who was wanted for murder ... (sustaining) multiple gunshot wounds."

Beck described the confrontation as a rolling gun battle, with "three independent shooting" sites. He said it was too early to know exactly how many shots were fired, but at least four LAPD officers were involved, along with Hawthorne police officers who responded to the scene.

The wounded officer was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was joined by his wife, who is also an LAPD officer.

Beck also visited the officer at the hospital.

"We anticipate a full recovery on his part," Beck said. The LAPD went on a citywide tactical alert following the shooting.

By early afternoon, the tactical alert was later limited to include only the LAPD's South Bureau. The alert allows the department to keep officers on duty beyond their usual shifts.

On the video of the incident, the suspect is seen holding a handgun and running. "Mama, I love you. My kids, I love you," he said. 

"They're about to kill me ... It's over with...they got me," he said before the video ends.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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