A gunman opened fire on a Los Angeles Police Department patrol car in South Los Angeles overnight, authorities said. The pair of officers inside the car was not injured, but the attack put the force on maximum, citywide tactical alert as cops searched for the shooter, police said.
One person was taken into custody, and a rifle was reportedly recovered, the department stated. A perimeter was set up in the area of the attack in an attempt to find a second man believed to have been involved in the attack.
The gunfire, of course, raised the question of whether officers were targeted under the same anti-law-enforcement sentiment that apparently inspired 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley to fatally shoot to New York Police Department officers Dec. 20.
It's only been little more than a week since that Bedford-Stuyvesant ambush, tied to Brinsley's anger over fatal police confrontations with unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, and members of the LAPD's brass are already answering questions about whether cops are in the sights of bloodthirsty vigilantes.
Deputy Chief Bob Green, wearing a black band over his badge in memory of New York's fallen officers, told reporters at the scene that such an attack was “always a possible.”
“Unfortunately based on what's going on with the national situation, tensions are very high,” he said, speaking to an NBC Los Angeles news crew. “Whether or not this is definitely related, it's too early to tell.”
The South L.A. attack was reported at 9:23 last night at 62nd and Hoover streets, police said.
A patrol vehicle was apparently on routine patrol when the officers inside “observed the muzzle of a rifle firing in their direction,” said Sgt. J. Shray of the 77th Street Division.
Deputy Chief Green said the cops “observed an individual step off the curb and open fire” on their patrol car.
Richard Winton of the Los Angeles Times said that police returned fire, but there were no reports of any injuries.
The result was a massive mobilization of cops at the scene. Green said multiple canine and SWAT teams were looking for the second suspect overnight.