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Inglewood cop shot in leg during traffic stop; suspect at large

October 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A manhunt is under way in Inglewood for a carjacker who shot and wounded a police officer during a traffic stop.

The shooting happened around 10:25 p.m. Sunday in the area of 113th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard in Inglewood. Authorities said officers pulled over the driver of a silver 2008 Chevrolet Impala. The car stopped and when the two officers got out of their cruiser, the suspect opened fire, hitting one of the officers in his left calf.

"All I heard from the back was a round of shots ... almost like a machine gun," said Inglewood Diana Sanchez, who lives across the street from the incident.

The suspect then sped away. Neither officer was able to return fire. The injured officer, identified as 5-year police veteran Benjamin Sanza, was taken to the hospital and released after being treated for a single gunshot wound.

The shooter fled the scene southbound on Crenshaw Boulevard. A short time later, the suspect vehicle was found abandoned near Prairie Avenue and the 105 Freeway.

According to investigators, the vehicle was stolen in a carjacking of a female victim in Long Beach Saturday night.

A perimeter was set up to search for the suspect. More than 50 law enforcement officers from around Southern California joined forces to search for the gunman. Even U.S. marshals were called in, armed with assault rifles.

"Anytime someone, a suspect or suspects in this case, is so brazen against law enforcement, I mean that's a direct attack on not only law enforcement, but the citizens in the community," said Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Inglewood police at (310) 412-5246.

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