A police officer responding to a car crash was killed Monday outside Los Angeles, and a second officer was wounded, according to investigators, Fox News reports.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the two officers responded to what they believed was a traffic accident in Whittier when a gang member who was “all tattooed up” began firing.
They “think they’re there to help, next thing they know they have this guy shooting at them,” Lt. John Corina said.
Corina told reporters the suspect was driving his car and rear-ended other cars that were waiting at a stoplight. The suspect then got out of his car and asked one of the people he hit to help push his car, he added. When police arrived, the suspect started firing, according to Corina.
Both the surviving officer and the suspect were in stable condition, police added.
Before Monday, 16 law enforcement officers had been killed on the job in 2017, a slight increase from 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Fewer of the killings involved firearms.
Police did not immediately name the suspects or the officer. The shooting unfolded around 8 a.m. near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street, Fox 11 reported.
Aerial footage of the scene showed a window of a Whittier police SUV partially shattered. A silver car in front of the SUV had front end damage and a weapon visible on top of its trunk.
Los Angeles County Fire Dispatch Supervisor Art Marrujo said the suspect was treated for gunshot wounds. The two officers were taken to LA County-USC Medical Center, where one was declared dead.