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1 Deputy Released, Another Remains Hospitalized Following Shootout With Gang Members

EAST LA (CBSLA)   -- One deputy was released from the hospital Thursday and another remained at County USC Medical Center after being wounded in a wild shootout with gang members last night.

The shootout occurred following a brief pursuit Wednesday in Salazar Park.

Neither of the deputies have been identified -- both are males in their 30s and ten-year veterans of the Sheriff's department.

A deputy who was shot in the shoulder was released. The other deputy was shot in the jaw and remains hospitalized. Officials said that deputy's wounds are not considered life-threatening.

CBS2's Dave Lopez said the deputies got into a shootout with three known gang members.

The gang member who allegedly did the shooting was killed at the scene. He was identified as 39-year-old Rene Herrera, Lopez reported.

Two other gang members -- both 18 -- were taken into custody. Fernando Cruz was shot and wounded. Officials said Thursday that he has multiple gun shot wounds and is in critical condition.

The other suspect, Hector Martinez, was found allegedly hiding in the park.

Thursday, Sheriff Jim McDonnell expressed gratitude to his deputies and the medical personnel who treated them.

"The work that was done last night," McDonnell said, "was truly amazing."

He added that it was nothing short of a miracle that the deputies were not killed.

"When gang members drive up and ask 'Where you from?'" said McDonnell, "the next thing you usually hear is a gunshot.  So they were out there and they were preying on the public."

That was the call that deputies received last night around 6 p.m. -- that three known gang members were in a car and driving up and asking people 'Where you from?'

Surveillance video showed deputies trailing that car as it drove into Salazar Park.

After they got into the park, one member got out and began firing at deputies.

"The shooter has an extensive criminal history," said Lt. Scott Hoglund of the LA County Sheriff's Department. "All three of them are documented gang members from the area."

Lopez said none of the neighbors wanted to talk on camera. But off-camera he said they all complained about a lot of gang activity in the area.

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