Suspect in LA police shooting wanted to be officer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man suspected of shooting up a police station lobby and wounding an officer before being critically injured in a gunbattle had wanted to become a Los Angeles police officer and was rejected, authorities said Tuesday.
Daniel C. Yealu, 29, applied through the personnel department but never made it to the Police Academy, Cmdr. Andrew Smith told The Associated Press.
Smith said he did not know when the application was made and had no information about why Yealu was rejected.
Investigators also didn’t immediately disclose a possible motive for the Monday night attack.
Yealu mentioned last year that he had applied to the Police Academy, was earning good money as a security guard and had plans to buy a condominium, his father, Danny Yealu, told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1gJipWJ ).
His son showed no warning signs before Monday night’s attack, said Yealu, 58.
The younger Yealu brought a Glock pistol into the lobby of the Police Department’s West Traffic Division station, walked 25 feet to the front desk, said “I have a complaint” and started shooting, police said.
Yealu and the desk officer were both shot several times in the close-range gunfight that followed. A second officer was involved in the shootout but wasn’t struck by bullets.
The desk officer was shot in the shoulder and elsewhere. He wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest, but a backup pistol in his left pocket deflected a shot to his leg, Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.
It is “an amazing story of survival,” Beck said.
Yealu was hospitalized in critical condition.
The name of the wounded officer wasn’t released but he is a seven-year veteran, Beck said.
Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said the officer was in good spirits and chatting with hospital visitors.
“He’s got a big smile on his face,” Soboroff said. “And his mom was there and she had a big smile on her face, and tears in her eyes.”
Officers serving a search warrant at Yealu’s west Los Angeles home Tuesday turned up hundreds of rounds of ammunition and weapons, including two assault rifles, a shotgun and two handguns, authorities said.
Yealu had a license to work as a security guard starting in 2005 and as of last year had a license to carry a firearm, but it was canceled, records showed.
The shooting at the station 7 miles west of downtown occurred as some three dozen people were in another room attending a meeting of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council.
Council member Daphne Brogdon said when gunfire erupted, she dove behind a lectern.
“I hid, and everyone else just hit the ground,” she told the Times. “Everyone was trying to be really quiet, and the shots continued.”
One of her council colleagues was next to her.
“We were just holding hands,” Brogdon said, “looking at each other saying, ‘Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.’”
The shooting marked the LAPD’s fourth on-duty injury in a month.
On March 7, a rookie officer was injured in a Beverly Hills crash that killed Officer Nicholas Lee, a 16-year veteran assigned to the department’s Hollywood station.
A little more than two weeks later, another Hollywood officer was injured by shrapnel when a man opened fire at a Hollywood Hills home.
On Saturday, a longtime motorcycle officer was critically injured when he was pinned between two vehicles in Sun Valley. Beck on Tuesday described that officer’s injuries as “catastrophic” and said he remained in “extremely critical condition.”
Associated Press writer John Rogers in Los Angeles contributed to this report.