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Composite sketch released of LAUSD cop shooter

The LAPD released a composite sketch Thursday of the suspect in the shooting of an LAUSD Police officer Wednesday.

January 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The LAPD released a composite sketch Thursday of the suspect in the shooting of an LAUSD Police officer Wednesday.

In a Thursday afternoon news conference, L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine announced he would seek a reward from the L.A. City Council for the capture and conviction of the man who shot an LAUSD Police officer Wednesday.

Zine said he would introduce a motion Friday at 10 a.m. to the L.A. City Council to authorize $75,000 for the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

The L.A. School Police Dept. offered $5,000 to add to the reward total. If the City Council approves Zine's request Friday, the total reward offered would be $80,000.

At the news conference, L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti thanked Michael Brody, the Good Samaritan who assisted the downed officer Wednesday and used a police radio to call for help. Brody is part of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

"The Coast Guard trains its coxswains to take charge and handle whatever comes our way," said Brody at the news conference. "In all that training we get a lot of radio communication training, so what I did yesterday was just do what I'm trained to do. It's as simple as that."

A composite sketch of the suspect was also released at the news conference. The suspect was described as a white male in his 40s or 50s, standing 5 feet 9 or 10 inches tall, with a slim build, and graying hair pulled back into a ponytail.

LAPD Robbery Homicide Division Capt. Kevin McClure said at the conference that police believe that someone in the community knows the suspect. McClure said the department has received numerous tips from the public and was investigating them.

Anyone with information related to Wednesday's incident was urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.

The search continued Thursday for the man who shot an LAUSD police officer in the chest in Woodland Hills. The officer suffered only minor injuries thanks to his protective vest.

When students arrived at El Camino High School, many were still talking about the shooting and the hours they spent on lockdown.

"It was kind of scary because we didn't actually know what was really going on until they told us over the loudspeaker. We thought it was just another drill," said student Kartik Prabhakar.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Officer Jeffrey Stenroos, an eight-year veteran of the LAUSD police force, was shot on Wednesday after he confronted a suspicious suspect attempting to break into cars near El Camino Real High School at about 11:30 a.m. The bullet hit Stenroos in the chest, but his protective vest saved his life.

"When somebody in broad daylight shoots a uniformed police officer, that is a huge, huge statement, and we need to find that person," said LAPD Dep. Chief Kirk Albanese. "He presents a risk to everyone's public safety. If he's threatening the police, he threatens all of us, so we need to find him."

Immediately following the shooting, police set up a large perimeter, about 7 square miles, as they scoured neighborhoods for the gunman, but the search was called off at about 9:30 p.m.

El Camino students were released after dark, and they said they didn't have food or access to a bathroom.

"Some were crying because they had to go to the bathroom so badly," said student Shayla Lamberth.

A few parents complained that the lockdown was handled poorly, while others said they understood the decisions made by the school and police.

"Everybody knows that they tried everything they can," said parent Romeo Zano.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines defended the hours-long lockdown.

"I was not willing to take a chance to allow students to go to a restroom, and then to have somebody shot," he said.

The suspect was last seen wearing blue jeans and either a dark bomber jacket or hooded sweatshirt. Police believe he is armed with a 9mm semi-automatic weapon.

Anyone with information related to the incident was urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.