A man, 36, has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in the ambush shooting of two Compton police officers earlier this month, two weeks after he was involved in an armed standoff with cops over an alleged carjacking.
Deonte Lee Murray, 36, was charged Wednesday with two counts each of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a felon after he allegedly walked up to a police cruiser and shot the two deputies multiple times back on September 12.
Two officers – 31-year-old Claudia Apolinar and her 24-year-old male partner – were shot multiple times as they sat inside their patrol car outside the Metro Blue Line station at Willowbrook Avenue and Oak Street.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and District Attorney Jackie Lacey in a press conference Wednesday morning identified Murray as the suspected gunman and said they believe he acted alone.
Murray, who authorities said ‘hates’ cops, has been in police custody since September 15 after a huge armed standoff in Lynwood over an alleged carjacking on September 1 where a 51-year-old man was shot in the leg.
Authorities at the time denied his arrest was connected to the ambush of the two cops despite the massive SWAT team presence and several law enforcement sources telling the media it was.
Police confirmed Wednesday the two incidents were related and said a gun discarded by Murray during the September 15 incident was the same one used in the cop shooting.
The vehicle the gunman fled from the ambush in is also allegedly the same black Mercedes Benz stolen in the September 1 carjacking that Murray was arrested for on September 15.
Video released by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department shows the moment that the male suspect opened fire on two deputies at a Compton bus station before fleeing on foot
FOX11 obtained a photo (above) of the female deputy covered in blood after she was shot in the jaw helping her colleague in the Saturday shooting
Villanueva announced the gunman’s arrest Wednesday and slammed his actions as the ‘worst of humanity.’
‘We saw the worst of humanity – a cowardly act where a suspect ambushed and shot and attempted to kill two of our deputies,’ he said.
‘This cowardly ambush was followed by bystanders celebrating and cheering that the deputies had been shot, and that followed at the hospital – the sanctity, the quiet sanctity of the hospital – with protesters cheering and chanting for the deputies to die.
‘These acts and that day, I will not forget it, and it represents the worst in humanity and it shocked the whole nation. And that evening, I said we will find this man. And I can report today, we have found our suspect.’
Villanueva said the ‘worst of humanity’ was followed by the ‘best of humanity’ as law enforcement and the community worked to track down the suspect following the attack.
Murray, a convicted felon who allegedly has ties to multiple gangs, will be arraigned on the attempted murder charges Wednesday afternoon at the Compton courthouse, said Lacey.
Police said they believe the suspect acted alone in the attack on the deputies.
The suspect was arrested two weeks ago on September 15 in connection to an armed carjacking in Compton back on September 1 where he allegedly also shot the male driver of the car, 51, in the leg with a rifle.
He faces attempted murder, carjacking, robbery and assault charges in that incident.
Authorities said Murray ‘hates’ law enforcement and have recommended his bail be set at $6.15 million.
He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on all charges.
The suspect’s photo is not being released because the investigation is ongoing and its release could impact witness interviews where suspect line ups may be used, authorities said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva (pictured) and District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced in a press conference Wednesday morning that the suspect is now in police custody and will be arraigned Wednesday afternoon
A felony arrest warrant was issued for Murray after officers tied him to both the carjacking and the shooting of the officers, LA County Sheriff”s Department Captain Kent Wegener said Wednesday.
Wegener said police located Murray on September 15 who then led cops on a high speed police chase in a Toyota, culminating in an armed standoff for eight hours in Lynwood.
Officials said they finally located him in a trash bin behind an apartment with the help of a K-9 unit and he was charged over that incident.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department – including Villaneuva – insisted at the time that his arrest was not related to the shooting of the two cops.
Authorities said Murray’s arrest was on suspicion of a carjacking and that there was no known connection between him and the gunman who gunned down the two officers the weekend before despite the massive police presence including helicopters, bomb squads and K-9 units.
‘At this time there is no information that would lead us to believe that he is involved in the shooting of our deputies,’ a department official said at the time.
Villanueva repeatedly told several media outlets the two incidents were unrelated as the standoff rumbled on for around eight hours and residents were evacuated from the area.
There were conflicting reports from law enforcement sources who told local media while the standoff was underway that it was connected to the cop shooting.
Aerial footage showed multiple police cars continued to be on the scene as darkness fell, while the suspect’s vehicle could be seen abandoned in the road
A huge search was underway in Lynwood for several hours for the armed suspect who was allegedly driving a light blue Toyota coupe and led cops on a chase
A source told NBC Los Angeles at the time that authorities were increasingly confident the suspected carjacker was connected to the attack on the officers.
Wegener said Wednesday a pistol Murray discarded during the chase was the same pistol used to shoot the two deputies on September 21.
He said forensics and ballistics connected the gun to Murray and the cop shooting.
The gun was also missing five rounds – the same number fired at the deputies, Wegener said.
The black Mercedes Benz sedan stolen in the September 1 carjacking in Compton was also found close to where Murray was hiding out, he said.
Wegener said the car was also identified as the same vehicle used as a getaway car after the ambush on the cops on September 12, police said.
Wegener defended the department’s actions denying any connection between the two incidents saying it would have been ‘irresponsible’ to confirm a link at the time.
Murray, a Compton resident, has a long rap sheet including drugs charges, terrorist threats and burglary charges.
When asked about the motive for the attack on the cops, Wegener said ‘he hates police officers and wants them dead’.
Two cops were gunned down in Compton on September 12 amid escalating tensions between law enforcement and the American public.
Shocking surveillance footage captured the moment the black male suspect strolled up to the police cruiser and shot the officers at close range before fleeing the scene on foot.
Apolinar, a mother to a six-year-old boy, was shot in the jaw in the attack while her partner was shot in the head.
Despite her injuries, Apolinar was able to get her partner to safety, apply a tourniquet to his wounds and radio for help.
The LA County Sheriff’s Department has insisted a huge SWAT response and armed standoff with a carjacker was not related to the ambush of deputies in Compton at the weekend – despite huge speculation it was – as tensions continue to mount across the city. Pictured the scene of the standoff
An armed carjacker led cops on a high speed chase through the Lynwood area of Compton Tuesday in what was thought to be connected to the ambush on LA deputies
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said there is no known connection between Murray and the gunman who shot two deputies in the head at the weekend. SWAT teams search homes in the area Tuesday
A photo of the aftermath of the attack shows Apolinar covered in blood, giving medical help to her injured partner who was also struck in the head.
A harrowing dispatch call reveals a shaky voice called in the shooting, muttering: ‘998 Compton Pax.’
Recognizing the code for a deputy-involved shooting, a dispatcher asks: ‘Just happened?’
The voice replies, almost unintelligibly, ‘Compton Pax, deputies down. Compton Pax 998.’
Both officers survived and were taken to hospital in a stable condition while a massive manhunt got underway for the gunman.
Apolinar is pictured during her graduation
Authorities said they were searching for a black male between the ages of 28 and 30 in dark clothing who was last seen in a black four-door sedan.
The 24-year-old male cop, who has not been identified, was discharged from hospital just over a week after the attack.
Four days later, his partner Apolinar was also released from hospital.
Both deputies had both only graduated from the Los Angeles Police Academy last year.
Fox News reporter William la Jeunesse said earlier in the month that ‘some believe this ambush was retaliation for some recent police shootings of black suspects in LA.’
On August 31 black man Dijon Kizzee was shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies after he was stopped for a traffic violation while riding a bike.
At the beginning of this month the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also voted to ask the coroner to conduct an inquest into the fatal deputy shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado on June 18.
Thousands have taken to the streets demanding justice and calling for an end to police brutality and racism since May following the ‘murder’ of black man George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he passed out and died.
Apolinar with her husband and Sergeant Frederickson (left) and in bed, writing out replies for Frederickson to relay to President Trump because she cannot speak
Claudia Apolinar, 31, before being released from hospital on Monday is pictured writing out answers to President Trump because she cannot speak. She was shot in the head, as was her 24-year-old partner. LA Sheriff’s Department shared these photos over the weekend, obscuring her face
Floyd’s death reignited outrage over the death of EMT Breonna Taylor, 26, who was shot eight times while sleeping in her bed when three plain clothes officers performed a no-knock arrest warrant at her Louisville apartment on March 13.
In June, unarmed father Rayshard Brooks was shot dead while he ran away from cops in the drive-thru of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta.
On August 23, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white cop in front of his three young children, leaving the father-of-six paralyzed from the waist down.
In early September, footage was released by the family of Daniel Prude, 41, showing cops in Rochester, New York, putting a spit hood over his face and pushing his face into the ground for two minutes until he passed out and died on March 23.
The Monroe County medical examiner listed the manner of death as homicide caused by ‘complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint’ but no charges have been brought against any of the cops.