ALHAMBRA, Calif. – An off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was critically wounded Monday when he was shot in the head as he waited in line at a fast-food restaurant, officials said.
The sheriff’s office said at a news conference the incident happened shortly after 5:30 p.m. at the Jack in the Box restaurant in Alhambra, a suburb east of Los Angeles.
“The deputy is currently in critical condition and he needs our prayers … to see whether he can pull through,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters.
The deputy, a 13-year veteran of the department, was off-duty and in civilian clothes at the time of the shooting, Fox11 reported.
“Nothing overtly that would indicate he was a law enforcement officer,” sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said. “He was off duty.”
The shooting was captured on surveillance video. It shows the deputy entering the restaurant, placing his order, and then waiting at the counter for his food.
As he was standing at the counter waiting for the meal, the gunman approached and shot him once in the head, and then left immediately, Wegener said. The deputy was rushed to County-USC Medical Center, where he remains critical.
“There doesn’t appear to be an overt motive” based on security video footage, Wegener said.
The gunman is described as a male adult in his 20s, about 5-feet 9-inches to 5-feet 11-inches tall, and was wearing a light-colored fedora hat, sunglasses, a burgundy button-down short-sleeved shirt, slim fitting blue jeans. Officials said he was armed with a handgun at the time of the shooting.
The suspect was later seen driving northbound on Fremont Avenue in a 2006 Kia Sportage 4-door SUV with paper license plates.
Authorities believe the suspect drove to a neighborhood just before 6 p.m. and changed his clothes into a black t-shirt and dark-colored jeans before taking off the hat and sunglasses and leaving the neighborhood in the Kia SUV, according to FOX11.
Detectives were interviewing several people who witnessed the shooting inside the restaurant.
The name of the deputy has not been released at this time, and authorities said the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call LA Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Update: The suspect has been captured. Read more.
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