Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies took into custody a carjacking suspect late Tuesday, ending a nearly nine-hour standoff in Lynwood rife with speculation that the Sheriff’s Department had cornered the gunman who shot two deputies at point-blank range four days earlier.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Boese skewered that theory Tuesday night, telling reporters that the man in custody, Deonte Murray, was suspected not of ambushing the sheriff’s deputies but of shooting a man and stealing his car two weeks earlier.
The massive police presence in Lynwood was prompted by the fact that Murray, 36, had shot his carjacking victim with a “high-powered rifle,” Boese said, as well as a “heightened sense of awareness” after the attack on the deputies Saturday.
The deputies, a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were sitting in a patrol car outside a Metro station in Compton when a gunman approached and fired multiple rounds into their bodies. They survived and are recovering.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva promised an exhaustive search for the gunman. When the department said Tuesday afternoon that it had dispatched its Special Enforcement Bureau — the sheriff’s shock troops — to deal with a barricaded suspect in Lynwood, social media hummed with speculation that they had cornered the shooter.
Boese poured cold water on the theory.
“At this time,” he said in announcing Murray’s arrest, “there is no information that would lead us to believe that he is involved in the shooting of our deputies.
“He is a carjacking suspect and he will be booked for carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon,” Boese said.
Two weeks ago, Boese said, deputies stationed in Compton responded to a carjacking in the 500 block of Essey Avenue and found a 51-year-old whose car had been stolen and who had been shot in the leg.
Gang investigators obtained an arrest warrant and began searching for Murray, who was spotted Tuesday near the intersection of Alondra Boulevard and Bradfield Avenue, Boese said. Deputies attempted to stop him in his Toyota Solara, Boese said, but Murray took off, with the deputies in pursuit.
Murray ditched the car in the 3000 block of Carlin Avenue in Lynwood and hid in a home, Boese said.
Into the evening, deputies blocked residents from entering or leaving a taped-off area. Helicopters buzzed overhead.
Christina Carrillo, 30, waited Tuesday night with her wife outside the area, hoping to reach their two children soon.
Carrillo, who has lived in the area for about 10 years, said she worried that the shooting of the two deputies in nearby Compton would increase mistrust between the community and law enforcement.
“It came close to home,” she said. “The tension is something we don’t need.”
After nearly nine hours, deputies used tear gas and a police dog to flush Murray from the property. They found him hiding inside a trash bin behind the property, Boese said.