A Los Angeles Police Department officer wounded during a running gun battle in Watts last night was released from a hospital today, Officer Drake Madison said.
The shootout took place about 11 p.m. after officers on patrol chased a man fleeing from a crowd in the street at the Nickerson Gardens public housing complex.
“The suspect produced a handgun, and shots were fired between the two as they ran, with gunfire continuing to be exchanged,” Madison said.
One officer was struck by gunfire, he said, and the suspect was killed. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics declared the suspect dead at the scene. Coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter identified the man as 18-year-old Richard Risher of Apple Valley.
A woman who identified herself as the teen's mother told KTLA News, “The police killed my son. He was running across the street and they killed my son.”
Following the gun battle, the department temporarily went on a citywide tactical alert, which allows supervisors to keep shift cops on duty, as dozens of officers swarmed to the area of 111th Street and Compton Avenue in search of a possible second suspect.
Details of the officer's injuries were unavailable. On Twitter LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said, “Our brave #LAPD officers endured a fierce gun battle requiring unwavering courage.”
The shootout comes as the LAPD and departments across the nation have been on high alert in the wake of targeted attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The violence appears to have been inspired by high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men.
In the wake of the Dallas and Baton Rouge incidents, Beck ordered extra helicopter patrols — with as many as three airships up at a time — to aid with officer safety. He also has directed elite Metropolitan Division officers to back up street cops.
“The events that have triggered this national discussion about policing in America are necessary, but must be free of violence if meaningful change is to be achieved,” Beck said following the July 17 shootings in Baton Rouge, which took the lives of three officers there. “These cowardly attacks on law enforcement officers will not resolve the issues and concerns that some have within society.”