LOS ANGELES (AP) — A graphic security video of an attack on a Los Angeles police officer shows the suspect knock the officer to the ground inside the station, pistol-whip him with his own gun and point it at his chest.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the video footage that shows the Saturday night assault inside the Harbor Community station in San Pedro. The officer, whose name has not been released, was recovering from his injuries at home Tuesday and has worked for the Los Angeles Police Department for more than 30 years.
Police say Jose Cerpa Guzman, 29, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer after a pursuit Saturday. Guzman was seen getting into a pickup truck and arrested within blocks of the station, where he had resisted attempts to detain him, police said.
Guzman was charged Tuesday with with two counts each of attempted murder on a peace officer and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, as well as robbery, evading and resisting an officer, according to the district attorney’s office.
He is being held in lieu of $2.23 million bail and scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Guzman could face life in state prison if he is convicted.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore has called the attack “a brutal and immediate assault” and said it was “by the grace of God that the officer survived it.”
Guzman has not been linked to subversive groups or actions, Moore said. “We don’t know what his intentions were,” the chief said.
The incident came two weeks after two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies were ambushed as they sat in their police vehicle in Compton, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of San Pedro. The officers suffered serious gunshot wounds but both have been released from a hospital. No arrests have been made.
Craig Lally, president of the union that represents rank-and-file LAPD officers, said the attack inside the police station — “which is our home” — was among the most horrific incidents he’s seen in his career.
The station’s door was open because officers had been coming in and out for a separate investigation, even though the doors are supposed to be closed during the pandemic. Even so, Lally said, he doubted that would have made a difference to Guzman.
“Even if he didn’t get in, he probably would have waited outside the doors for an officer to come outside,” Lally said.
The video was first obtained Monday by the Los Angeles Times. LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein said footage of the attack will be released within 45 days, per the department’s policy for critical incidents.
In the video, the officer is seen walking across the lobby to the station’s open glass door as Guzman walks inside. They appear to have a heated exchange, in which the officer is forced to walk backwards as Guzman gets closer and closer to him. The officer points outside and Guzman leaves for just seconds before he returns, walking up to the officer and swinging at his head.
He swings again and knocks the officer to the ground and several items fall out of his equipment belt. They grapple on the floor and the man appears to pull the officer’s handgun out of its holster, striking him four times in the head. The officer knocks the weapon out of his hand but he grabs it again.
Guzman, on his knees as the officer is on his back, points the weapon at the officer’s chest — just inches away. Guzman runs away as another officer, the station’s watch commander, comes into the video’s frame.
The watch commander exchanges gunfire with Guzman as he’s leaving through the front door, police said, before taking cover as the first officer lays on the lobby floor. No one was injured in the shooting.
A third officer arrives at the end of the clip, with a gun drawn, and together they approach the now-closed door as the footage ends.