08/04/2003

Calif. Cop Killed in Struggle with Trespasser

Officer Down: Deputy Stephen Sorensen - [Palmdale, California]

PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities were searching for a suspect who shot and killed a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy following a struggle Saturday.

Deputy Stephen Sorensen, a 12-year veteran, was killed while responding to a trespassing call shortly after 12:30 p.m. near Highway 138, east of Palmdale, Undersheriff William Stonich said.

A witness reported hearing about a half dozen gunshots and called authorities, Stonich said. Deputies at the scene located Sorensen's unoccupied patrol car.

"We found our deputy's vehicle but did not find our deputy," Stonich said. The deputy's body was found within an hour a "short distance from where the struggle took place," he said.

The deputy had been shot but it was unclear whether he had been involved in a gun battle, said sheriff's Deputy Faye Bugarin.

Sheriff's investigators were being assisted in their search by the California Highway Patrol, a SWAT team and a bomb squad.

No arrests have been made.

Sorensen was married and had an adult son and an adopted child, authorities said.

Palmdale is about 40 miles northeast of Los Angeles, on the western fringes of the Mojave Desert.
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