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Suspect Killed, Officer Hurt In Gunfight

Two bystanders are injured in Monterey Park. Nearby residents are evacuated.

April 25, 2011|Sam Allen

A running gun battle Sunday in Monterey Park left a suspect dead and a police officer and two bystanders wounded. Authorities evacuated several dozen residents, and a SWAT team surrounded an apartment building where a second assailant was believed to be hiding, but a search turned up nothing, officials said.

Monterey Park Police Officer Gilbert Alvarez suffered a grazing wound to the head and was in stable condition at County-USC Medical Center, officials said.

The conditions of the bystanders were not immediately available. One was shot in the leg, officials said.

The gunfight occurred about 5 p.m. after officers responded to a report of a stabbing stemming from road rage at South Garfield and Newmark avenues, a busy commercial area, officials said. The stabbing victim, whose name was not released, was injured in his upper torso and was in stable condition at a hospital, they said.

The shooting could have been the result of an earlier hit-and-run crash, according to officials.

The shooting erupted almost as soon as officers reached the scene. A resident, who asked that her name not be used, said she heard "a lot of shots" and officers ordering someone to "put the gun down." Bullets shattered the windows of numerous cars on Newmark, including police cruisers.

Monterey Park Police Capt. Eugene Harris said officers killed an unidentified suspect after he opened fire on them. "It was very chaotic," Harris said. "There were people everywhere."

He said he did not know if the bystanders struck by gunfire had been involved in the hit-and-run or stabbing.

A second suspect was seen running away after the shooting, officials said. More than 100 police officers and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies flooded the streets, with helicopters hovering above.

For hours into the night, the SWAT team remained deployed around the apartment building on Newmark, across from a CVS pharmacy.

Officials said they had believed the other suspect might still be holed up in the building.

In the darkness, officers also searched neighboring buildings and yards, to no avail. About 40 to 50 residents left voluntarily or were told to evacuate.

The American Red Cross set up an evacuation center at a nearby church.

sam.allen@latimes.com

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