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Ambush of Los Angeles officers leaves ‘sense of uneasiness’ among police

LOS ANGELES – The search for a second shooter in an attack on Los Angeles police was called off early Monday, and red and yellow caution tape barred entrance to the scene of the shooting.

“We don’t know what precipitated the shooting,” LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman told the Los Angeles Times, but “everyone’s keenly aware of what happened in New York,” and there is a “sense of uneasiness.”

Sunday night around 9:20 p.m., two officers in a single patrol car were responding to a call and driving southbound in South Los Angeles .They saw a muzzle flash – the visible blast from a gun – and determined they were being fired at, Neiman said.

Despite the surprise attack, neither officer was hurt and they were able to return fire, officials said.

Police called a citywide tactical alert and launched a massive search following what they described as an ambush. One person of interest was detained for questioning, but another man remained at large.

“It was an ambush,” Deputy Chief Bob Green said. “They were fired upon without any prior contact with the suspects.”

Neiman said: “It’s very clear that the officers were in a black and white police car. The people who shot at these officers knew they were the police.”

Around 8:30 a.m. Monday, one of the officers involved in the shooting showed multiple investigators around the crime scene.

The setting of the shooting is a South Los Angeles neighborhood with primarily single-family homes, a few churches and a nearby high school.

After Sunday night’s attack, a citywide tactical alert was called as police undertook a massive search. The incident came less than two weeks after two New York police officers were fatally shot in an ambush.

Meanwhile, an autopsy report released Monday on a 25-year-old black man killed in a confrontation with Los Angeles police appears to affirm initial statements by officers about the struggle that led to the close-range shooting, police said.

Ezell Ford was shot three times in his right side, right arm and back, according to the report that also says a muzzle imprint was found around the back wound and that Ford had abrasions to his left hand, forearm and elbow.

The report was disclosed after police initially ordered the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner to withhold the results for months to avoid tainting potential witness statements.

Ford was unarmed when police confronted him on Aug. 11 on a street near his home. Police said officers tried to speak to him but got into a struggle with Ford and shot him when he tried to grab an officer’s gun.

Police Chief Charlie Beck told a news conference the investigation was far from over. Stressing he was not drawing conclusions, Beck said: “There is nothing in the coroner’s report that is inconsistent with the statements given to us by the officers.”