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8 LAPD officers injured in Lakers celebrations [Updated]

June 15, 2009 |  8:22 am

[Updated at 8:55 a.m.: Police say they have arrested two residents of a downtown L.A. loft for receiving stolen property after the couple picked up some athletic shoes that had been stolen from a looted shoe store. That would bring the total number of arrests in Sunday night's post-Lakers-victory melee to 23. Investigators also said they will be reviewing video to identify other people involved in the violence.]

Eight Los Angeles police offers suffered minor injuries and 21 people were arrested during Lakers victory celebrations that turned riotous outside the Staples Center, authorities said today.

Following the Lakers’ 99-86 win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night, officers faced small groups of revelers in downtown Los Angeles who shook passing cars, threw debris and sparked fires.

Twelve government vehicles, including six MTA buses, were damaged, and one traffic light was knocked down, said LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman. Metro Blue Line trains were delayed because of debris on the tracks, and a gas station, a pharmacy and a shoe store were looted, she said.

Shoe store owner Richard Torres arrived at his business Sunday night just after the alarm company called to tell him there was a break-in. What he discovered was disheartening: His vintage-style stock of sneakers had been ravaged and shoe boxes were strewn along the sidewalk.

“I have the video camera, and it’s a flood of people running into the store and grabbing what they could,” he said today as he stood among the remnants of his inventory. “What’s really awful is they took the stuff and they started burning it. It’s just disappointing.”

The LAPD did not have an estimate of the damage that included graffiti, broken windows, torched billboards and news boxes, a police official said. Six of the injured officers were taken to a hospital for treatment and released.

-- Corina Knoll and Andrew Blankstein

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