Sheriff Villanueva Announces Arrest of Suspect in Compton Deputy Ambush
Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a press conference today, Wednesday, September 30, 2020, to announce the arrest of the suspect who deliberately attempted to kill two deputies in an ambush-style shooting, while they sat in their patrol car.
Sheriff Villanueva noted the cowardly act was followed with bystanders celebrating and cheering the despicable act. He relayed how he saw the worst in humanity when a crowd made its way to the hospital and chanted for the deputies to die while they fought for their lives. In juxtaposition, he saw the best of humanity when the entire Sheriff’s Department worked together to bring justice to the deputies. The outpouring of support from the community, the nation, both presidential candidates, people from all walks of life, including children, was a source of support, not only for the injured deputies, but for all law enforcement personnel.
Homicide Bureau unit commander, Captain Kent Wegener, gave a summary of the ambush and events which led to the arrest of the suspect. The shooting occurred Saturday evening, September 12, 2020, north of the Metro Blue Line Station, located at 101 East Palmer Street, in Compton, as two deputies sat in a marked patrol car. The suspect surreptitiously approached the passenger side of the patrol car and fired multiple rounds through the open window. Both deputies suffered gunshot wounds to their heads and extremities. The suspect fled the scene in a black sedan, and a monetary reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.
Through review of video and witness statements, investigators determined the armed suspect drove from the scene of the attack in a black Mercedes Benz. In the following hours, investigators learned that on September 1, 2020 -eleven days prior to the attempted murder of the deputies- a carjacking occurred on Bradfield Avenue, in Compton. The suspect shot the carjacking victim in the leg with a high-powered rifle and stole a black Mercedes Benz. The suspect was a male Black adult. The carjacking case was investigated and an arrest warrant was obtained for Deonte Lee Murray, 36, of Compton.
On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at approximately 11:30 A.M., units from the Major Crimes Bureau – Surveillance Apprehension Team located the suspect and attempted to stop him in a vehicle. The suspect fled in a 2006 Toyota Solara and a vehicle pursuit was initiated. During the pursuit, the suspect threw a pistol from his car, which was recovered and held as evidence. The pursuit lasted until the suspect abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot near the 3100 block of Carlin Avenue in Lynwood.
Around 9:50 P.M., the suspect was located, hiding in the bushes; he was detained and arrested for the carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon warrant. The stolen Mercedes Benz was recovered a short distance from the containment and impounded as evidence.
In the days following, a forensic firearms report was published by the crime laboratory, which compared ballistic evidence from the scene of the ambush to the pistol discarded by the suspect during the pursuit. It was determined through ballistic comparison that the pistol recovered was the same gun used to shoot the deputies. The gun in evidence was a .40 caliber, 80% non-serialized pistol, loaded with eight rounds, five rounds short of its 12-round capacity. The number of missing rounds coincides with the five rounds fired at deputies during the ambush attack. Murray has a criminal history to include multiple felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Dozens of video clips were collected, and witnesses are still being identified and interviewed. As a part of the interviews, photographic lineups may be conducted, involving the suspect’s image. In consideration of the ongoing investigation, and to avoid any compromise of the case, photographs of the suspect are not yet being released to the public. Investigators believe Murray acted alone in the attempted murder of the deputies and are not looking for any other suspects at this time.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that, earlier this morning, her office charged Murray with two felony counts of Willful, Deliberate and Premeditated Attempted Murder of a Peace Officer. Murray also faces charges of Attempted Murder, Carjacking, Robbery, and Assault in relation to the carjacking. If convicted as charged, he faces life in state prison. His bail was set at $6,155,000.