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2 officers hurt in Inglewood standoff as gunman holds 2 hostages

Police evacuate neighborhood after officer is shot, another injured in hours-long standoff with gunman holding two female hostages.

November 28, 2013|By Alicia Banks and Ruben Vives

Two Inglewood police officers were injured Wednesday when a gun battle broke out at a home and then turned into a tense, hours-long standoff after the suspect barricaded himself inside the house with two female hostages.

The dramatic incident unfolded in the normally quiet block of well-kept, single-family homes after the suspected gunman was seen trying to drag a screaming teenage girl by the hair, according to law enforcement authorities and witnesses.

Late Wednesday, the suspect surrendered to authorities and the two hostages were giving statements to police, an official with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

When officers first arrived on the scene shortly after noon, the shooter opened fire from inside the home and police fired back, authorities said.

A male officer was shot once in the chest but was "saved by his bulletproof vest," said Lt. Oscar Mejia of the Inglewood Police Department. He was pulled out of the line of fire by other officers who had swarmed the scene in the 10700 block of 5th Avenue.

A female officer was injured when she apparently fell from a wall while trying to aid the officer who was struck in the chest, Mejia said. She was treated at a hospital and released. The officer who was shot was being treated Wednesday night and was in good condition, police said. Both officers have been with the department at least 10 years.

The gunman was described as 45 years old and having a criminal history, said Lt. Dave Dolson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The hostages were the suspect's girlfriend and her daughter, authorities said. The daughter, believed to be about 14, reportedly received a cut when the man tried to drag her by the hair.

As officers went door-to-door evacuating residents, crisis negotiators talked to the gunman on a cellphone. He made no specific demands, according to police.

Several neighbors said they were preparing for Thanksgiving when the commotion erupted.

One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said she was cooking when she heard screaming about 12:30 p.m.

She ran outside and saw a man dragging her 14-year-old neighbor into the house.

Another neighbor, Kimberly Edwards, was on her way to the store to pick up supplies for Thursday's dinner when she saw several police officers and a man pleading with them to rescue his sister, who he said was being held captive in the house.

"I saw a panicked brother scream at the police officers: 'Please get my sister out of that house, please get my sister out of that house,'" Edwards said.

Shortly after, Edwards heard a barrage of gunfire. She said she saw a female officer stagger down the street and then collapse. Another officer came to her aid and carried her away, she said.

An elderly woman who lives across the street was cooking a pie when a bullet whizzed through her front door.

"There were so many gunshots, oh my God, it was like you were in a war zone," she said.

Walter Maye said he heard about 15 gunshots. "I thought: God, what is going on," he said.

The 70-year-old Maye stood at 5th Avenue and 104th Street on Wednesday night, watching his neighbors being escorted out of the area by officers.

"It's a shame," he said.

Times staff writers Ari Bloomekatz, Kate Linthicum and Robert J. Lopez contributed to this report.

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