Witnesses reported hearing about five shots.
"He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him. And he was suddenly and tragically taken away from us," said Captain Dan Cruz, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "It's not only a loss for the Sheriff's Department, but it's also a loss for the community."
Escalante worked in the county jail system, guarding dangerous inmates including members of the Mexican mafia.
Detectives say he may have been killed because of his job.
Anyone with information is urged to call (877) LAW-FULL, (877) 529-3855.