(Reuters) – A sniper opened fire at a Los Angeles County sheriff’s station on Wednesday afternoon, wounding a deputy and sending police SWAT teams hunting for a gunman on the loose in buildings nearby.
The deputy, Angel Reinosa, 21, was shot in the chest as he walked outside the Lancaster City, California, station about 2:45 p.m. (2145 GMT), headed for his car parked near the station’s helicopter landing pad.
However, body armor deflected the bullet, which grazed his shoulder, sheriff’s spokesman Marvin Crowder said.
“We’re very fortunate that he is going to be all right,” Crowder said. “But this is a very, very dangerous situation.”
“We have a gunman out there targeting law enforcement but have no ID, no suspect description,” he said.
The incident followed a number of mass shootings and also a spate of arrests of people threatening mass shootings in the United States.
Gunmen using semi-automatic rifles and high-volume magazines killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, earlier this month.
A Tennessee man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly posting threats online to “shoot up” a facility run by Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C., the latest arrest in a nationwide law enforcement effort to thwart mass shootings. [L2N25H1LH]
At least two shots fired in the latest incident in California. Police sources told the Los Angeles Times that the bullets came from a high-velocity rifle.
A police SWAT team searched a four-story apartment building near the station as a possible location for the shooter, police said.
No one had been taken into custody by early on Thursday.
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Paris told the newspaper the shooting was incomprehensible in the southern California city of about 170,000, about 70 miles (112 km) north of Los Angeles.
“He is walking out of the sheriff’s station, and a sniper took a shot at him,” Paris said.
Police warned nearby residents to stay indoors.
(The story has been refiled to remove extraneous word from headline)
Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Paul Tait