A man was charged with attempted murder in the ambush shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies that was caught on surveillance video in Compton, California, more than two weeks ago.
Authorities on Wednesday announced the charges against Deonte Lee Murray, a 36-year-old Black man who had been arrested two weeks earlier in connection with a separate incident of armed carjacking.
Murray is a convicted felon with a criminal history and is affiliated with a number of gangs, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. Kent Wegener said in a press conference.
Although authorities did not provide a motive for the shooting, they appeared to connect it to some of the rhetoric around law enforcement.
When asked whether authorities knew of a motive, Wegener said, "Other than the fact that [the suspect] hates policemen and wants them dead, not specifically."
Wegener did not provide details as to why law enforcement officials believe the suspect hates police officers. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva later added, "It's a scary situation in the sense that people have such deep-seated hatred against law enforcement that they’re willing to just kill unprovoked."
LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the two deputies were "victims of a violent crime for one reason: They were doing their job and they were wearing a badge."
The two deputies, identified as a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were shot multiple times as they sat in their patrol vehicle outside a Compton train station on Sept. 12.
A surveillance video of the shooting showed the lone gunman approach the passenger side of the patrol vehicle and fire multiple rounds through the open window. The suspect then fled the scene. The woman deputy managed to step out of the vehicle and dragged her partner to safety.
The deputies both suffered gunshot wounds to the upper torso and were hospitalized in critical condition. They have now recovered and are at home but face a lot of reconstructive surgery, Villanueva said Wednesday.
Eleven days before the deputies were shot, authorities were investigating a carjacking in Compton where a suspect shot the victim in the leg and stole a black Mercedes sedan.
On Sept. 15, authorities arrested Murray in connection to the carjacking incident after a lengthy standoff. He was charged at the time with felony counts of carjacking, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities recovered the black Mercedes sedan that they said the suspect had driven past the area where the deputies were shot. The suspect was also seen fleeing the scene of the shooting in the same vehicle. After Murray's arrest, officials also recovered a gun that was five rounds short. Wegener said that the suspect had fired five rounds at the deputies.
Authorities believe he acted alone. The investigation is ongoing.
The initial criminal complaint against Murray was amended to include attempted murder charges for the deputies' shooting, authorities said. He is expected to be arraigned in a Compton court on Wednesday. If convicted, Murray faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
After the shooting, LASD authorities arrested an award-winning journalist and an anti-police demonstrator outside the hospital where the two deputies were being treated.
Last week, the district attorney dropped the misdemeanor charge against the reporter, Josie Huang, citing insufficient evidence that she was not properly credentialed or had interfered with the protester's arrest.