Deonte Lee Murray, 36, of Compton, was charged with two counts of attempted murder of the two law enforcement officers, facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is convicted. Murray is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and District Attorney Jackie Lacey made the announcement during a press conference, saying that Murray fled the scene of the attack in a black Mercedes that was stolen in a carjacking that Murray was involved in.
Surveillance footage that was released after the incident appeared to show Murray approaching a vehicle that the two deputies sat in before firing several shots. Officials said both deputies were struck in the head.
“They became victims of a violent crime for one reason—they were doing their job and they were wearing the badge,” Lacey said on Wednesday in announcing the charges. “There are people who have such deep-seated hatred against law enforcement that they’re just willing to kill anybody unprovoked,” Villanueva said.
According to public records, Murray has a prior criminal history. Homicide Bureau Captain Kent Wegener told Fox11 that he’ a convicted felon and was arrested two weeks ago in connection with a carjacking and shooting of a man in Compton.
The shooting of the two deputies came in the midst of monthslong protests and riots that triggered a wave of anti-police animus following the death of George Floyd in police custody in May. After the deputies were taken to a hospital earlier this month, a group of demonstrators gathered around the building and chanted Black Lives Matter-related slogans, drawing condemnation from local officials. There were a number of users on Twitter who cheered on the shooting of the deputies, saying police deserved it.
“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,” Los Angeles May Eric Garcetti said in an interview on Sept. 13.
“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,” Garcetti, a Democrat, said in the interview.
A reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect had increased to more than $600,000 in recent days.
The two deputies were released from the hospital several weeks ago.
Anyone with information on the case can call the sheriff’s tip line at 323-890-5500, while anonymous tips can be left for Los Angeles Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or at lacrimestoppers.org.