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Compton ‘ambush’ leaves 2 LA County sheriff’s deputies ‘fighting for their lives’

A manhunt was underway in California early Sunday after two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot in their patrol car Saturday by a suspect who “opened fire without warning or provocation,” authorities said.

The deputies, a 24-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman, were both in critical condition and “fighting for their lives” as they underwent surgery following the attack, which occurred around 7 p.m. local time outside a Metro rail station in Compton, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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“Moments ago, 2 of our Sheriff Deputies were shot in Compton and were transported to a local hospital,” the department tweeted. “They are both still fighting for their lives, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

The deputies were out of surgery by 11 p.m. PT, according to KABC-TV.

President Trump, who held a rally in Nevada on Saturday night, responded on Twitter after the sheriff’s department tweeted out a grainy video that shows the suspect approaching the parked patrol vehicle and firing shots inside the vehicle’s passenger-side window.

“Animals that must be hit hard!” Trump wrote, referring to criminals who target law enforcement.

WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES

Both deputies were sworn in just over a year ago and the female deputy is the mother of a 6-year-old boy, officials said in a 10 p.m. news conference. Both of their families were rallying around them at the hospital.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said while authorities don’t have a detailed suspect description, one of the deputies described the shooter as a “dark-skinned male.”

Villanueva said the shooting shows the dangers officers face in the streets and how situations can change in “the blink of an eye.”

State Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer called those who serve “heroes” and condemned any violence directed at law enforcement.

“I am praying for the officers involved and their families,” Jones-Sawyer said at the news conference. “This was an unprovoked, cowardly act.”

Villanueva said the shooting seemed to follow a growing trend of suspects opening fire on law enforcement officers without provocation.

“Every week across the nation someone is losing their life in the line of duty,” he added. “It pisses me off, it dismays me at the same time. There’s no pretty way to say it.”

Villanueva expressed his condolences to the families of the deputies, adding, “Hopefully they can both heal from this.”

FBI Los Angeles tweeted it has “offered resources and stands ready to assist” in response to the attack.

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The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted, “We stand with our brothers and sisters at the @LASDHQ tonight. The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of the LAPD, are with the two deputies that were ambushed while sitting in their vehicle earlier this evening.”

Protesters outside hospital

A handful of anti-police protesters showed up at the hospital where the deputies were being treated but soon dispersed after some tense moments with authorities who were guarding the entrance, KABC reported.

A local faith leader who came to the hospital to pray for the deputies, told a KABC reporter that some of the protesters had been shouting slogans like “Death to police!”

Protesters were blocking the entrance to the hospital emergency room and yelling, “We hope they die,” referring to the two deputies, the sheriff’s office said.

A local radio reporter was also apparently arrested amid the chaos. County Undersheriff Tim Murakami said he was looking into the arrest, according to a reporter with KPCC Public Radio. In an update, he said the reporter was being released but would be charged with a misdemeanor.

The sheriff’s office later confirmed an adult female, who was later identified as a member of the press, was arrested. Authorities did not immediately identify the woman.

She had run toward deputies while a male protester was being arrested for failing to comply with dispersal orders at the hospital, the sheriff’s office said. While the man struggled with deputies, the sheriff’s office said the woman ignored repeated commands to stay back and interfered with the arrest.

The woman had not identified herself as a member of the press, according to the sheriff’s office, and later admitted she did not have proper press credentials on her person.

Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.

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