GARDENA, Calif. (KABC) -- An armored vehicle security guard was shot and critically wounded and another was injured during a robbery of the vehicle Thursday morning at the Hustler Casino in Gardena, prompting a search for three suspects, authorities said.
Officers and firefighter-paramedics responded shortly after 10 a.m. to a report of a gunshot victim in the 1000 block of Redondo Beach Boulevard, according to Lt. Christopher Cuff, a spokesman for the Gardena Police Department.
Investigators learned that the two security guards returned fire after being shot at by the suspects, who were armed with handguns and a rifle, Cuff said. The armored vehicle is operated by Loomis US, a cash-handling company.
One of the security guards was shot and wounded in the shootout, and the other was injured but not by gunfire, the lieutenant said. The wounded employee was shot in the leg and transported to a hospital in critical condition, but is expected to survive.
An armored police vehicle was summoned to the scene as authorities searched for the suspects at a building at the intersection of 155th Street and Vermont Avenue, not far from where the shootout occurred.
WATCH: Police provide update after guard shot in robbery of armored truck at Hustler Casino in Gardena
Whether any of the suspects were shot was unclear. Their vehicle was recovered by police, but no one was in custody.
Cash was stolen in the robbery, authorities confirmed, but the amount was not disclosed.
Police say the security guards were delivering cash to the casino.
No descriptions of the individuals being sought were immediately available.
Thursday's robbery occurred just weeks after thieves broke into an unattended Brink's tractor-trailer parked at a remote rest stop and stole millions of dollars worth of jewelry and gemstones after the vehicle's two armed guards walked away. That theft occurred early July 11 in the unincorporated community of Lebec, just south of the Grapevine.
Both crimes are considered to be rare.
On Thursday, the suspects waited for the armored vehicle and immediately began shooting shortly after 10 a.m., Cuff said.
"As soon as they got out of the car, they were met with gunfire," he said.
Detectives are looking into whether the unknown amount of cash was stolen from inside the armored vehicle or from the guards themselves. No one in the casino was robbed, Cuff said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.