The incident happened around 1 a.m. at Centinela Hospital Medical Center. No deputies were injured.
Family members identified the victim as Gilbert "Tito" Gutierrez of Compton. According to investigators, the suspect had been arrested Wednesday afternoon for possession of a controlled substance. They said he developed a medical issue while he was at the South Los Angeles Station jail. He was transported to Centinela Hospital's emergency room.
While at the hospital, 27-year-old Gutierrez allegedly grabbed a deputy's gun from a holster, prompting the shooting, officials said. The inmate was in a triage room and had one hand handcuffed to a hospital bed and one hand free, allowing him to grab the gun. The suspect did not fire the weapon. The sheriff's department said no one else was in the exmaination room at the time.
There were several people inside the emergency room at the time of the shooting, but no one else was injured.
Witnesses described the scene as intense and chaotic.
"Next thing you know, it was like real loud, 'bang!' I get behind the wall. One of the nurses came out and was telling us to get behind the wall," said one witness.
Gutierrez's cousin said he had been suffering from depression.
"I just saw him two days ago. He told me, 'I don't feel good, I feel like a I have a lot of problems.' He was stressed out," she said.
The emergency room remained open to walk-in patients during the investigation. Ambulance traffic was diverted to other local hospitals.