LAPD officer shot twice in shootout; saved by vest

Los Angeles Times

A Los Angeles police officer was in stable condition after being shot at least twice today during a shootout that left a suspected gunman dead near MacArthur Park, authorities said.

Five suspects were being questioned and two have been booked on charges of attempted murder, police said.

The suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was not identified.

The officer, a 12-year veteran, now in the Rampart Division, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was identified as Andy Taylor, 37, who is married with a 2-year-old son, Deputy Chief Lee Carter said at an 11 a.m. news conference.

"He's awake, alert, awaiting the arrival of his wife," Police Chief William J. Bratton said earlier of the officer, who wore a bulletproof vest. "The officer is in good spirits, stable condition and could be released today or tomorrow."

The policeman responded about 5 a.m. to a call about an assault with a deadly weapon at an apartment building in the 600 block of Coronado Street. He was joined by several other officers.

At his news conference about 7:30 a.m., Bratton said the officers ascended a stairway at an apartment complex.

"Once on the second floor hallway of that multi-unit apartment building," Bratton said, officers "encountered four male black suspects. … During the course of that encounter, shots were exchanged, with at least one suspect and [then] three or four of our officers," Bratton said.

At the later news conference, Carter said five suspects, three male and two female, were being questioned. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

Bratton said at least one shot and possibly two were stopped by the bulletproof vest. Another shot hit the officer in the chest area around the right shoulder and exited through the back. There appeared to be some bruising to the lung.

Bratton said the department airlifted the wounded officer's wife to the hospital.

The incident was the sixth time this month that an LAPD officer has been shot at, Bratton said. Two have been hit.

"This year, this month, we've seen a significant increase" in shootings at police, Bratton said.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who went to the hospital along with the chief, blamed gang violence for the increase in assaults against officers, though it was unknown whether gangs were involved in the latest incident.

"One of the reasons why we're targeting gangs and we're not sure who these suspects are … is because too much of this kind of activity occurs in [the] city of Los Angeles and we've got to do something about it," Villaraigosa said.

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