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Claudia Apolinar: LA Sheriff Deputy Recovering from Ambush

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Claudia Apolinar was seriously wounded when she was shot multiple times in her patrol car in Compton on Saturday, September 12, 2020, along with her partner.

The two deputies were in their patrol vehicle outside the train station when a male opened fire in an attack which officials are calling an ambush. They were taken to a hospital with serious injuries and underwent emergency surgery. They remained in critical condition at St. Francis Medical Center after the surgery. Meanwhile, protesters outside the hospital chanted “We hope you die” while the deputies were “fighting for their lives.”

A manhunt was underway after the shooting, and authorities released video of the attack.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Apolinar Is a 31-Year-Old Mother of a 6-Year-Old Boy

Apolinar is 31 years old. She is married, and has a 6-year-old son, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a press conference in the hours following the shooting. She and her partner were ambushed in Compton as they sat in their patrol vehicle outside the train station.

“Update: The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation,” LA County Sheriffs wrote on Twitter.

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The shooting occurred at the Metro Blue Line station at Willowbrook Avenue and Elm Street at about 7:10 p.m. Saturday, September 12, 2020, according to FOX 11.


2. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Said He Swore Apolinar In Himself Just 14 Months Ago

Apolinar and her partner were new to the force. Villanueva said at a press conference he swore in both deputies himself just 14 months before they were seriously wounded in a shooting.

The deputies were members of the Transit Services Bureau, according to FOX 11. Bill Melugin of FOX said the deputies were at the Comp ton PAX station when they were both shot in the head by a male who got off a bus and fled the scene. Their identities were not immediately released. Rumors circulated that one of the deputies had died, but officials confirmed the rumor was false.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the attack in the hours after the shooting.

“Animals that must be hit hard!” he wrote.


3. Protesters Outside the Hospital Chanted ‘We Hope You Die’ as Apolinar Was ‘Fighting for Her Life’

Video outside St. Francis Medical Center shows protesters shouting and “oinking” while blocking the entrance to the hospital. At one point, the protesters tried to get inside the emergency room, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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The video shows the protesters shouting “f*** the police” and “We hope you die.” One protester told an officer responding to the protest, “That’s why you all die one by one.”

Two people were arrested, including a reporter, Josie Huang. She was documenting the protests and captured the incident on video. Read more about her arrest, read her account and see video of the arrest here.


4. Apolinar’s Family Told a Reporter She Applied a Tourniquet to the Male Deputy After She Was Shot Through the Jaw

The deputy’s family told FOX 11 Reporter Bill Melugin that even after she was shot through the jaw, she called for help on a radio and applied a tourniquet to the deputy.

“NEW: LASD & the families of the two ambushed deputies have given me permission to show this graphic photo of the moment after they were shot. I’m told female deputy was shot through jaw, still radioed for help & applied tourniquet to male deputy’s wounds. Both stable now.
@FOXLA” he wrote on Twitter.

The deputy is the married mother of a 6-year-old boy, and Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during the press conference her husband was there with her after the shooting. Villanueva said he was “dismayed” and “pisses [him] off” that a person would target his deputies, who he swore into his department personally.

A week earlier, he said, deputies were shot at as they attempted to serve a search warrant.

The woman was “fighting for her life” in the hospital as protesters gathered outside, saying they hoped she died.

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5. LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Said the Attack Is Part of a Pattern of Violence on Law Enforcement

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva detailed the shooting on two of his deputies at a press conference, and said he sees the ambush as a part of a growing trend of violence toward law enforcement.

“Every week in the nation, someone is losing their life in the line of duty, so this is just another grim reminder of that,” he said. “The two deputies were doing their job, minding their own business, watching out for the safety of the people on the train, and seeing somebody just walking up and start shooting on them, it pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time. There’s no pretty way to say it.”

The department is stretched thin between response to protests, fires and other calls. Now, he said, deputies will also be watching their backs for unprovoked attacks.

“As you can tell we’re stretched…” he said at the press conference, and paused to wait for the sound of nearby sirens to dissipate. “We have the civil unrest and protests in south LA, we have the Bobcat Fire, we have situations in downtown LA. We have a lot different situations going on at the same time. Our deputies are working very long hours these days, and this is just going to add to the things that we have to be alert for. We have to start a buddy system, watching out for each others back.”

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