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L.A. County deputies 'ambushed' by shooter, reportedly 'fighting for their lives'

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Kevin Bartram  Reuters

Two Los Angeles sheriff's deputies were in a critical condition after being shot in an ambush outside a suburban metro station on Saturday night.

The shooting occurred at the Metro Blue Line station at Willowbrook Ave. and Compton Blvd., which is not far from the Compton Sheriff's Station. The unidentified suspect, captured on CCTV footage, is still at large.

"They are both critically injured, multiple gunshot wounds".

Both graduated from the academy 14 months ago, the sheriff said.

The deputies were out of surgery by 11 p.m. PT, according to KABC-TV.

He described the deputies as a "31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy" and a "24-year-old". They are both now undergoing surgery.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose department has been criticised during recent protests over racial injustice, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the officers at a late-night news conference.

"These are real people, doing a tough job, It shows the dangers of the job in the blink of an eye".

Two California state assembly members, Mike Gipson, who represents Compton, and Reggie Jones-Sawyer, chair of public safety for the state of California, attended the press conference.

Villanueva said the shooting seemed to follow a growing trend of suspects opening fire on law enforcement officers without provocation. It dismays me at the same time.

The ambush also means deputies will have to be more on guard, he said.

The FBI Los Angeles Field Office is offering resources to assist with the response to the shooting.

The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted, "We stand with our brothers and sisters at the @LASDHQ tonight".

Following the incident, the Sheriff's Office said protesters gathered outside the hospital blocking the emergency room entrances and exits, chanting "We hope [the deputies] die!" One of those arrested was later identified as Josie Huang, a radio reporter for KPC. "I won't ever let a couple of voices that not only are uncalled for, but it's abhorrent to say something like that when we have two deputies, two sheriff's deputies, who are in grave condition". Authorities did not immediately identify the woman. Police allege that she ignored commands to stay back while they arrested a second protester who violated dispersal orders.

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