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Massive search for two suspects in shooting of LAPD officer

August 25, 2011 |  5:08 pm

Map shows approximate location of the attack in black and recent crime reports in brown and red. Click for more details on the Times' interactive Crime L.A. project. Two suspects were being sought Thursday afternoon after a shootout that left a Los Angeles police officer with multiple injuries.

A third man was hospitalized after the shooting but it was unclear whether he is a suspect or a bystander, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said.

The veteran officer, assigned to the LAPD's 77th Division, was shot at least three times Thursday afternoon when a suspect opened fire on him during a pedestrian stop in South Los Angeles, officials said. He was hospitalized in stable condition.

The attack occurred on Western Avenue near 66th Street when the officer and his partner pulled over two suspects, one on foot and another on a bicycle. Moments after stepping out of their black and white patrol vehicle, one of the suspects opened fire at close range with a pistol.

More than a dozen shots were fired, officials said.

The gunman fled north on Western Avenue. A second man involved in the incident fled south. One forced his way into a home on 71st Street and ran out the back door, said a source with knowledge of the unfolding search, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to comment publicly.

The shooting prompted a massive response by the LAPD, which is searching an area from Gage Avenue in the north to 76th Street and from St. Andrews Place to Arlington.

Smith said more than 100 officers are involved in the search, which includes members of LAPD's s elite Metropolitan Division.

"They are armed and obviously they are dangerous," Smith said.

The gunman is described as an African American man; 18 to 20 years old; 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall; wearing a white shirt with blue sleeves and dark pants.

The other suspect was described as an African American man; 18 to 25 years old; 5 feet, 7 inches tall; and 190 pounds. He was wearing a white shirt and black pants.

As LAPD superiors huddled over radios at a command post in a school parking lot, they strained to hear updates of the search over the noise of police helicopters flying in low circles over the search area. Nearby, ambulances and a firetruck idled, waiting in case they were needed to transport more wounded.

Dozens of officers in helmets and vests, and armed with rifles, gathered in the corner of the school lot before fanning out to join the search.

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-- Joel Rubin in South L.A. and Andrew Blankstein

Map: Shows approximate location of the attack in black and recent crime reports in brown and red. Credit: Crime L.A.

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