Los Angeles, CA – A veteran Los Angeles police officer was viciously assaulted and nearly shot during a brazen attack inside a police station on Saturday (video).
Police said that the suspect pointed a gun at the officer’s chest and throat and repeatedly pulled the trigger, but that a safety feature on the weapon stopped it from firing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The incident occurred inside the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Harbor Community station in San Pedro just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 26.
Security footage showed the LAPD officer making his way towards the lobby doors as the suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Jose Cerpa Guzman, came inside.
The officer began backpedaling nearly immediately as Guzman advanced on him, and the two men appeared to argue in the moments that followed.
Guzman ultimately turned and walked out the lobby doors, only to charge back inside a second later, the video showed.
The officer backed away, but his attacker was able to land a right-handed blow to the side of the officer’s head.
The officer squared off with Guzman and attempted to back away, but was knocked backwards onto the floor by another punch to the head, the video showed.
Guzman stood over him, then dove down towards the officer’s holstered 9mm Beretta duty weapon, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The suspect yanked the gun multiple times as the officer tried to fight him off and to retain his weapon, the video showed.
The men locked arms and wrestled on the ground, at which point Guzman managed to aim the gun towards the officer’s chin and chest, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The officer continued fighting for his life as Guzman gained control of the gun and ruthlessly pistol-whipped him with it, the video showed.
He managed to knock the gun from Guzman’s hand a moment later, but the suspect quickly regained control and snatched the weapon back up.
He then pointed the firearm at the officer’s neck and chest at close range before freeing himself from the officer’s grasp and running back towards the lobby doors, the video showed.
An LAPD watch commander came into the lobby and spotted the injured officer on the ground, then took off running after the fleeing suspect, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police said Guzman fired at her as she reached the door, at which point she dove to her left and took cover behind a partial wall and returned fire.
Investigators said the suspect fired three rounds during the attack, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The watch commander sent out a radio alert that shots had been fired at the station and an officer was in need of help.
She also told officers to be on the lookout for a suspect in a white truck, which was soon spotted heading southbound on Harbor Boulevard, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police stopped the vehicle at gunpoint in the area of Pacific Avenue and West 18th Street, and ended up in a physical altercation with Guzman before he was taken into custody.
One of the officers suffered a broken hand in during the fight, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Investigators found the officer’s duty weapon inside the suspect’s vehicle, police said.
Guzman was transported to a hospital with unspecified injuries.
He is being held on $2.23 million bail on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The LAPD Force Investigation Division is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
The department has not revealed a motive for the attack, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The officer who was attacked is a 37-year veteran of the LAPD, according to KABC.
He suffered bruises and other minor injuries during the assault, but will make a full recovery, LAPD Chief Michael Moore said.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former LAPD officer, said he used to work with the longtime LAPD officer who was attacked.
“He was the face of our police station, He was the voice of our police station,” Busciano told KABC. “What we saw today in this video perfectly illustrates the danger and complexity officers face every single day.”
Chief Moore told reporters that he was thankful the officer survived the harrowing assault, and that he “did not suffer the injury that apparently this suspect meant to inflict,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD union president Craig Lally said that there was “no rhyme or reason” for the unprovoked attack.
“It just shows you how dangerous this job is now,” Lally told the Los Angeles Times. “You don’t even have to be responding to a call now. You can just be sitting in a car in a uniform or sitting at a desk in a uniform and get attacked.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: