Two California police officers were wounded and a suspect was killed during a shootout Wednesday after police responded to reports of a hooded man with a sword entering the Church of Scientology of Inglewood, authorities said.
The suspect, who was not immediately identified, was shot in the head and later died at a hospital, Inglewood police Lt. Oscar Mejia told reporters at the scene.
One officer was struck in a hand, and the other was hit in an arm, officials said. The officers, both in their late 20s, were hospitalized in good condition with non-life-threatening injuries, police Chief Mark Fronterotta said.
The shootout unfolded around 3:30 p.m. local time inside the front entrance of the church. Gunfire erupted when police approached a man wearing a hoodie and wielding a sword.
Officials did not say who fired first or whether a gun was removed from the suspect.
Witnesses told the Los Angeles Times that a heavy police presence across several blocks followed the shooting, but beyond hearing the pop of a gunshot, they were uncertain what happened inside the church.
“The police aren’t playing around — all of them are out here,” 52-year-old Ron Sigur told the paper. “This is my city, I live in Inglewood. I want to know what happened.”
Officials believe the suspect acted alone but were still working to determine a motive, FOX11 of Los Angeles reported. The suspect’s white-colored Bentley was found parked near the church and is being searched for evidence. Officials did not immediately release further details.
The Church of Scientology released a statement, thanking the police and offering its full support to authorities during the investigation.
"We thank the Inglewood Police Department for their rapid response in protecting our parishioners and staff members," reads the statement obtained by FOX11. "These officers are doing a heroic job protecting the community and keeping houses of worship safe against hate crimes."
Inglewood is a city of about 100,000 residents about 10 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.