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LAPD Officer Assaulted by 2 Men in Tunnel Under Freeway

September 10, 2006|Robin Fields | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles Police Department sergeant suffered minor injuries after being attacked Saturday afternoon by two men underneath a Woodland Hills freeway overpass, police said.

The bizarre incident triggered a more than eight-hour manhunt that, as of 11 p.m., had come up empty.

Police said the sergeant was on routine patrol at 1:50 p.m. when a man flagged him down at Ventura Boulevard and Sale Avenue, saying another man was incapacitated inside a tunnel under the 101 Freeway.

When the sergeant entered the tunnel, police spokesman Mike Lopez said, the man who had flagged him down struck him in the head from behind.

A second man, who had been lying down in the tunnel, approached the prone officer, brandishing a knife, Lopez said.

The sergeant fired his gun several times at the man with the knife, but Lopez said it was unclear if the man was shot. Both attackers, described only as in their 30s, fled via opposite ends of the tunnel. One was on foot and the other jumped into a gray 1980s Toyota Previa, Lopez said.

The sergeant suffered a laceration to his head and was treated at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, Lopez said.

Dozens of officers were called in to track the alleged attackers using helicopters and dogs.

The motive for the alleged ambush is still unclear, police said. "At this time, it appears to be an unprovoked attack on one of our sergeants," Police Chief William J. Bratton told KABC-TV Channel 7.

robin.fields@latimes.com

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