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Neighbors describe violent Sylmar standoff

April 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Neighbors on Tuesday talked for the first about the violent standoff in Sylmar that left a police officer wounded.

Crews are still picking up the pieces of what was once the home of Sergio Salazar. Part of the home in the 13600 block of Dronfield Avenue was ripped apart, and a bedroom was riddled with bullets.

"The house, I've never seen anything like that before, that's pretty incredible," said neighbor Rosy Molina.

Sergio Salazar, 53, was holed up in this home for 18 hours, several times exchanging gunfire with police.

The incident began Sunday night after police received a call of a domestic dispute. Salazar allegedly had attacked his wife, and when police wanted to talk to him, officials say he shot officer Steven Jenkins in the face.

"I just heard a voice saying an officer is down," said witness Alejandro Miranda.

As police and sheriff's special response teams surrounded the house neighbor John Fregeau was told he couldn't leave.

Police used phone calls, a bull horn, tear gas, hot gas and deployed a Bat Cat -- a kind of hydraulic forklift and crane which has cameras mounted on it -- to literally tear apart the home.

"They blew the hole, and then they worked over on the master bath ... and they just knocked that out," Fregeau said.

SWAT officers entered the home and found Salazar dead next to a rifle at about 7:30 p.m. It's unclear if he shot himself or was killed by officers.

People who knew him still find all of this hard to understand.

"He was a friendly neighbor," Molina said.

Officials said the investigations at the scene would probably continue for several days. One investigator told Eyewitness News that this will be "a long and drawn out process."

Meantime, officials at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center said Officer Jenkins has been upgraded to serious condition. He suffered a gunshot wound to the face that exited through his jaw. A second bullet entered near his left collarbone, resulting in lung damage, rib fractures and blood-vessel damage. He will need reconstructive surgery on his jaw.

"He is an incredible fighter; a very, very, very tough guy; a very dedicated guy and I know that his strength will pull him through this," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Jenkins is a 22-year veteran of the LAPD and a specialist with the K-9 unit. Jenkins' wife and son are both LAPD officers.

A blood drive was being held in Jenkin's name Tuesday at the LAPD's Central Station at 6th and Wall streets in downtown Los Angeles. Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa were among the first in line to donate. Another blood drive was held Monday at Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills.

The Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union (LAPFCU) has opened a donation account to assist him and his family. Public donations can be mailed to:

Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union
Attn: Blue Ribbon Trust for Steven Jenkins
P.O. Box 10188
Van Nuys, CA 91410
Checks must be made payable to "Blue Ribbon Trust for Steven Jenkins"

LAPFCU members may donate to the account through PATROL Online Banking at www.lapfcu.org, or by calling 877-MY-LAPFCU (877-695-2732) -- press 2, enter account #2030077 S4.52 followed by BLU (first three letters of the account name).