With police still searching for the gunman who shot two Los Angeles County deputies on Saturday as they sat in their patrol car, one of the deputies has been released from the intensive care unit, according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
“Great news, one of those deputies was released from the hospital today. He has a long road ahead for recovery. But he’s not alone,” Villanueva tweeted Wednesday. “We, as a community, are in this together.”
We at @LASDHQ appreciate the outpouring of prayers and support you have shown for our ambushed deputies.
Great news, one of those deputies was released from the hospital today. He has a long road ahead for recovery. But he’s not alone. We, as a community, are in this together.
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) September 17, 2020
In an interview Wednesday night on ABC’s “Nightline,” Villanueva “clarified that the deputy had been released from the intensive care unit and is close to being released from the hospital. The deputy will need additional surgeries on his arm, Villanueva said,” the outlet reported.
Earlier Wednesday, Villanueva said both deputies were taking key steps along a long road to full recovery.
“Their prognosis is good, however they have a long road to recovery ahead of them. They are going to face additional surgeries to repair all the damage inflicted, but thankfully they escaped, you know, a life-altering injury,” Villanueva said during a community meeting, according to CNN.
“By the grace of God they’re both going to pull through. They’re obviously pretty injured and it’s going to be life-altering,” lead investigating officer Lt. Brandon Dean told the Daily Mail, praising the wounded deputies’ “will to survive, their will to protect each other, their will to protect the public.”
“They didn’t give up, they didn’t cower down,” he said. “They got out and took care of each other, took cover, made sure it wasn’t an active shooter situation. You’ve got to praise them for their courage and ability to fight for their lives and everybody else’s lives.”
Dean called the incident “an extreme situation. [The female deputy] was shot in the face, shot in the upper torso several times. To have the wherewithal to get yourself out of the vehicle and the line of fire in case it continues, but then to take care of your partner, initiate radio traffic make sure the civilians in the area are safe, it shows a lot about her courage and intestinal fortitude.”
Villanueva admitted Wednesday that despite a reward pot that has swelled to $300,000, police do not have a suspect.
Detectives “are confident they are on the right track, they’re making progress,” he said.
Surveillance video captured both horror and heroics as it showed the shooter walking up to the passenger’s side of the vehicle and firing several shots and, later, the female deputy administering first aid to the other deputy as her jaw wound dripped blood.
WARNING: The video below contains graphic images that some viewers may find disturbing:
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs president Ron Hernandez indicated that the public support for the wounded deputies is gratifying, but noted that the families of the wounded deputies have expressed concerns about a social climate in which someone could walk up to a police car and shoot inside it.
“They’re overwhelmed by the amount of support because they equate that to thank yous for their loved ones doing their job, even though they’ve been injured,” Hernandez told KABC-TV.
“On top of that they’ve relayed to me they’re genuinely concerned for where we’re at today. They look at it as, if somebody’s wiling to victimize law enforcement, what does that say for what could happen to the average person walking down the street?” he said.
UPDATE, Sept. 18, 2020: This article and a headline for it shared on Facebook have been updated to reflect that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva later clarified in an interview with ABC’s “Nightline” that contrary to his tweet, the male deputy had been released from the intensive care unit, not the hospital itself, though the deputy was expected to be released from the hospital soon.
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