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'Open Season' on Calif. L.E. Officers

Gunmen have shot at peace officers at least four times over the last eight days -- a pace that has a Los Angeles County union official saying it appears to be "open season" on law enforcement.

The latest shooting broke out Tuesday night in San Pedro, when a man allegedly shot at two LAPD officers. Though no officers were hit, it was a different case just hours earlier in Lynwood, when a sheriff's detective was shot in the shoulder.

In that incident, the detective and his partner were following up on an investigation when a man opened fire and then ran into an apartment. The man barricaded himself for hours before emerging from the apartment with a gun and was shot to death by deputies. His identity has not been released.

"It's a dangerous job, and we work in a particularly dangerous area," said Jeffrey Steck, president of the county deputies' union. "It seems there's a little bit of an open season on law enforcement lately -- attacks that are unprovoked."

Among those apparently unprovoked shootings was one in San Bernardino on Friday. According to police, Officer Gabriel Garcia and his rookie partner approached a group of a half-dozen people in a residential neighborhood when one of the men in the group, identified as Alex Alvarado, 38, turned and shot Garcia multiple times with an assault weapon-type rifle. Alvarado was killed in a subsequent firefight; Garcia remains in critical condition.

Garcia was the most seriously injured in the recent spate of shootings, but an LAPD officer engaged in a gun battle Aug. 18 -- the first in the recent string of incidents -- was also seriously wounded.

The officer was shot during a run-and-gun battle through South L.A. with two men that ended in a neighborhood not far from USC. Andre Maurice Jones, 37, shot an LAPD officer in the leg, shattering his bone and blasting out a chunk of his calf, before he was gunned down by return fire.

The injury may be career-ending to the officer, officials said.

Three days earlier, on Aug. 15, a sheriff's deputy was severely beaten by a man while investigating a domestic violence incident at Lakewood Center mall. The man was unarmed and was taken into custody and the deputy is recovering in the hospital.

Copyright 2014 - Los Angeles Times

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