SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA) — Bloodied and handcuffed, but still able to stare straight at the camera, firefighters loaded a man suspected of shooting an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer Wednesday afternoon in Sherman Oaks.
It all unfolded around 1 p.m. in the underground garage of an apartment building in the 5200 block of Vesper Avenue, police said.
Investigators said the officer and a woman were walking down to his personal vehicle when he noticed the suspect sitting inside the car.
"The officer realizes that inside this vehicle he typically secures his bulletproof vest as well as other equipment including a fire arm," Chief Michel Moore said.
Investigators said the man put on the officer's vest and grabbed the officer's duty firearm. That's when the officer, who was also armed, confronted the man, and a gun battle broke out.
"I see him try to get rid of some evidence, like a black baggie as well," Christian Hernandez, who was working at a dealership behind the apartment building, said. "And I start calling the cops."
Hernandez took cell phone video capturing the moment police caught up with him and took him into custody.
Moore said the officer, who was only described as working in the detective bureau, was able to disarm the suspect, but was struck multiple times in the chest and once in the thigh.
The officer, who has not yet been identified, underwent surgery earlier in the day and was expected to recover, though Moore said he was not yet out of the woods.
"I spoke with him before he went into surgery," Moore said. "Obviously these are very traumatic injuries, and he is grateful to be alive, but he's not out of the woods yet."
Investigators said they were still trying to figure out how the man was able to gain entrance to what is typically a secured garage.
Moore said he did not think the officer was targeted, but also said that there was a 45% increase in the number of guns stolen from inside vehicles.
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