Wounded hero LA County sheriff's deputy identified, was librarian before joining police force
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One of the sheriff’s deputies ambushed Saturday night by a brazen gunman previously worked as a librarian before she applied to join the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department three years ago, according to a report.
Claudia Apolinar, who is being guarded by fellow members of the sheriff’s department while she and her partner – a 24-year-old deputy – continue to recover, worked as an aide in a Los Angeles Country library starting in 2011. In 2017, she applied to be a sheriff’s deputy, the Daily Mail reported.
Apolinar, who is a 31-year-old mother to a 6-year-old boy, and her partner were ambushed Saturday night while sitting in their car at a metro center in Compton. They were rushed to the hospital in serious condition.
Her father told the Mail she was being protected by a member of the LASD who was standing watch by her room.
An extended version of the video reviewed by the Los Angeles Times shows the shooter running away in the direction from which he came. He turns a corner out of the frame, past a second figure lingering on the sidewalk, according to the Times.
Moments after the shooting, the passenger door opens and a deputy stumbles out, hand on head, according to the newspaper. The driver-side door opens soon after.
Apolinar was struck multiple times in her face and torso but tended to her partner, who was also wounded after they were able to climb out of the police car.
Claudia Apolinar smiling for a photo with LASD Sheriff Alex Villanueva at her July 2019 graduation (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Facebook)
“It’s an extreme situation. She was shot in the face, shot in the upper torso several times,” LASD Lt. Brandon Dean told the Mail. “To have the wherewithal to get yourself out of the vehicle and the line of fire in case it continues, but then to take care of your partner, initiate radio traffic make sure the civilians in the area are safe, it shows a lot about her courage and intestinal fortitude."
In dispatch audio from the moments following the shooting, a weak-sounding voice can be heard saying: “998 Compton Pax,” which is the code to signify a deputy-involved shooting, according to the Mail. When the dispatcher asks if it just happened, the barely-there voice reportedly responds: “Compton Pax, deputies down. Compton Pax 998.”
A reporter from local affiliate FOX LA shared a graphic image that shows the bloodied female deputy peering out from behind a pillar in the aftermath of the shooting.
Both deputies underwent surgery after the shooting Saturday evening and were expected to recover, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Sunday.
LASD has announced a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person seen on video opening fire on the deputies.
According to the Daily Mail, $75,000 in additional reward money is being offered by outside people or groups. A spokesperson for the LASD said early Tuesday the reward still stands at $100,000, but would likely be increased on Tuesday.
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Investigators described the attacker as a Black man who appears to be between 28 to 30 years old and who was wearing dark clothing at the time of the shooting.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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