Los Angeles’ Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti called the actions of protesters gathered outside a hospital treating two law enforcement officers who were ambushed and shot on Saturday “abhorrent,” while offering up his prayers for a speedy recovery for the wounded sheriff’s deputies.
Garcetti’s comments, which he made on Sunday during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” come only hours after a group of protesters shouted slogans like "Death to the police!" outside the hospital where a 31-year-old female Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy and a 24-year-old male deputy underwent surgery Saturday evening.
"There’s no place in civilized society for anybody to draw an arm and to shoot our law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line,” Garcetti said. “And I won’t ever let a couple voices that not only are uncalled for, but it’s abhorrent to say something like that when we have two deputies, who are sheriff's deputies, in grave condition.”
The deputies were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station and were able to radio for help, the sheriff said. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose department has come under fire during recent protests over racial unrest, expressed frustration over anti-police sentiment as he urged people to pray for the deputies.
“It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time,” he said.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. a short distance from the Compton sheriff’s station south of downtown Los Angeles. The gunman remains at large.
Both officers are out of surgery as of Sunday. One of the deputies was shot in the face and the other in the head.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, called the shooting of the two deputies “a horrific, cowardly act” in a tweet on Sunday.
“A 31 year-old mother and a 24 year-old are fighting for their lives because of this cowardly, horrific act,” he tweeted. “The perpetrator must be quickly brought to justice.”
Newsom’s comments were echoed by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, a Democrat who represents the congressional district where the two officers were ambushed.
“Prayers for the two Sheriffs Deputies shot near the Blue Line tonight as they fight for their lives,” she tweeted. “The video is disturbing and shows a coward ambushing the officers. May the suspect be brought to justice.”
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tweeted video of the shooting that shows a person open fire through the passenger-side window of the patrol car.
While there was a quick condemnation from state and local lawmakers in California, nationally the news of the ambush did not garner as forceful of a response.
Neither House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., nor Rep. Maxine Waters, a prominent Democrat who represents parts of Los Angeles County, have publically commented on the shooting as of Sunday afternoon.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., asked his followers on social media to pray for the wounded law enforcement agents, while President Trump angrily tweeted out the video of the shooting along with the comment that “Animals that must be hit hard!”
Both Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, roundly condemned the shooting.
"This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice," Biden tweeted. “Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.