Los Angeles police officer shot in 'gun battle' with burglar, suspect also shot and in custody

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James Leggate
·2 min read
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An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was hospitalized following a "gun battle" that erupted when he interrupted a thief stealing his police gear from his personal car on Wednesday.

The cop and the suspect were both in stable condition at a local hospital after suffering multiple gunshot wounds in the shootout, Police Chief Michel Moore said.

Based on the preliminary investigation, Moore said police believe the officer, who he didn’t immediately name, and a female companion were walking down from the officer’s apartment on Vesper Avenue in the Van Nuys neighborhood to his car in the building’s subterranean garage at about 2:25 p.m. when they realized a Hispanic male was sitting in the car.

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The officer’s duty bag with his police gear was stored inside the vehicle. And the man was wearing the officer’s bulletproof vest.

The officer, armed with a backup weapon, went to confront the thief, who had his primary firearm that had also left in the car, Moore said.

"That altercation turns into what we believe to be a gun battle between the two of them," Moore said.

The rolling shootout led out of the garage and into an outdoor breezeway, based on the trail of blood and shell casings, according to Moore.

The suspect finally fell to the ground after taking shots to the shoulder, arm and leg, and began removing the officer’s vest, Moore said. The officer than took back his firearm and returned to the garage, put the guns next to his vehicle, and collapsed after having suffered two gunshots to the chest and one to the thigh during the gun battle.

Moore said he had spoken to the officer, who was stable and undergoing surgery.

"I’m grateful that in this instance, he will apparently survive this attack," he said.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for LAPD union, tweeted that its members were "praying for the full recovery of our officer who was shot today."

Moore said the officer's car had been parked in a locked, individual compartment inside the garage. Investigators don't believe the officer's car was specifically targeted because of other burglaries targeting vehicles in the area.

"We think this was likely a random event," Moore said.

The officer works out of the LAPD's detective bureau. Moore called him "a professional and by every appearance a good cop going out to do a difficult job."

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The woman who was with the officer was not injured, Moore said.