GoFundMe page raises over $300K for critically wounded Compton deputies as reward offer for gunman grows

A GoFundMe page for two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who were brazenly shot while sitting in a patrol SUV at a Compton Metro station has swelled to over $300,000 in donations.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Manhunt intensifies for suspect in Compton deputies shooting
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A manhunt continued Tuesday for the gunman who brazenly shot two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies as they sat in a patrol SUV at a Compton Metro station, with a reward for information leading to the suspect increasing to $200,000

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A GoFundMe page for two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who were brazenly shot while sitting in a patrol SUV at a Compton Metro station has swelled to over $300,000 in donations as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect increased to $200,000.

The deputies, members of the Transit Services Bureau, remained hospitalized in critical condition, but Sheriff Alex Villanueva was hopeful Monday about their prognosis.

"Fortunately, they were spared any injury to a vital organ that would have jeopardized their life immediately,'' Villanueva told KNX Newsradio.

But the sheriff said the deputies -- described only as a 24-year-old man and a 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy -- have a long road to recovery. Villanueva said Saturday both deputies were sworn in just 14 months ago.

The GoFundMe page, started by sheriff's detective Keegan McInnis, raised more than $302,000 as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday with more than 4,300 people donating toward the page's goal of $400,000.

As of Tuesday morning, no suspects have been identified, despite some online social media chatter to the contrary. The sheriff's department issued a statement early Monday saying the information circulating online "is ERRONEOUS information and there are no named or wanted suspects at this time.''

Villanueva told KNX that investigators are "working day and night to identify and arrest these cowards,'' referencing the gunman and a possible getaway driver.

The county is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the gunman. The Board of Supervisors is expected to formally ratify the reward offer at its meeting Tuesday. Villanueva, in a Monday afternoon appearance on KABC radio, said two private donors stepped up to increase the reward offer to $175,000.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday afternoon it is adding $25,000 to the reward, noting that the deputies were working for Metro's Transit Services Bureau at the time of the shooting.

Villanueva challenged Lakers star LeBron James, who has been outspoken on social-justice issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, to double the reward offer.

MORE: LeBron James speaks out after Wisconsin police shooting: 'We are scared as Black people'

The attack occurred at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Metro Blue Line station at Willowbrook Avenue and Palmer Street. Surveillance video shows the suspect approaching the window on the passenger's side and firing several times at close range. The suspect then ran off on foot. One deputy was seen emerging from the passenger side and stumbling around on foot for several seconds before the video ends.

Audio captures a frantic call for help from one of the deputies shortly after the shooting.

"I've been shot. Send help," one of the deputies is heard saying in the radio call.

Shortly after the shooting, the female deputy can be seen on surveillance video struggling to place a tourniquet on her partner even as she herself is bleeding from gunshot wounds.

RELATED: Video shows wounded deputy struggle to aid partner after Compton shooting

As a manhunt continues for the gunman who ambushed two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Compton, new surveillance footage shows how one deputy struggled to help her partner even as she was bleeding from her own wounds.

"She helped the other wounded deputy, got on the radio, provided medical care, got him to a place of safety 'cause they didn't know if there was another attack coming their way," Villanueva said.

The shooter was described by the sheriff's department as a "male Black, 28- to 30-years-old, wearing dark clothing, who was last seen heading northbound on Willowbrook Avenue in a black four-door sedan.''

Relatives of the injured deputies -- including the husband of the female deputy and the girlfriend and parents of the male deputy -- were at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where they're being treated.

Villanueva on Monday again lashed out at protesters who showed up at the hospital Saturday night and shouted anti-law-enforcement chants, expressing hope that the deputies die. One witness told ABC7 some protesters tried to force their way into the emergency room while shouting death to the police.''

"They were chanting that they wish the deputies died,'' Villanueva told KNX Monday. And I don't even know how to be begin to describe that, other than repulsive, reprehensible.''

More video surfaced Monday showing some bystanders at the Metro station taking pictures or video of the wounded deputies after the shooting, and at least in one case, laughing while failing to offer any kind of aid.

WATCH: Protesters show up to hospital after Compton deputy shooting

A small crowd of demonstrators gathered outside a Lywood hospital Saturday night where two L.A. County Sheriff's deputies are being treated. Shortly after, a local radio reporter was arrested during a scuffle with deputies.

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger didn't mince words Monday about her disgust with the hospital protests. She suggested the shooting was the culmination of "anti-law-enforcement rhetoric expressed by many elected officials, community leaders and others,'' leading to the creation of a toxic environment amid a time of civil unrest.''

The shooting came on the heels of a series of combative protests outside the sheriff's South Los Angeles station, with demonstrators condemning the Aug. 31 fatal shooting by two sheriff's deputies of 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee in the Westmont area. Those demonstrations led to more than three dozen arrests, with the protesters accusing deputies of using excessive force and Villanueva saying demonstrators triggered the violence by hurling objects at sheriff's deputies.

Also in the aftermath of the shooting, Villanueva and the sheriff's department are taking criticism over the arrest of a KPCC/LAist reporter while deputies were working to quell the protest outside the hospital. Video from the scene showed deputies pinning reporter Jose Huang to the ground and arresting her.

The sheriff's department claimed she didn't have proper media credentials and was "interfering with a lawful arrest.'' Villanueva later doubled down on that contention, saying Huang got right up on the shoulder'' of a deputy trying to make an arrest, and saying her actions were more "activism'' than journalism.

RELATED: KPCC, LAist reporter's account, video of violent arrest while covering protest seemingly contradicts LA County Sheriff's Department's claims

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies appeared to violently tackle and arrest a radio reporter who was covering the aftermath of an attack on two deputies in Compton.

Video from Huang's cell phone has since surfaced, appearing to contradict the department's description of events. KPCC reported that the video shows Huang repeatedly identifying herself as a reporter, shouting "KPCC,'' and saying, You're hurting me'' while crying out in apparent pain.

Inspector General Max Huntsman is opening an investigation into the incident.

Anyone with information was encouraged to contact the Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

City News Service contributed to this report.