L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced charges Wednesday morning against a man in the shooting attack on two deputies at the Compton Metro station earlier this month.
Attempted murder charges were filed against Deonte Lee Murray, 36, who was taken into custody Sept 15 after a lengthy standoff in Lynwood in connection with a separate case. At the time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Murray was suspected in an armed carjacking and was not involved in the shooting.
The deputies — a 31-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man who have not been identified by the Sheriff’s Department — were shot in the face and head while sitting in their patrol car near the Compton Metro station on Sept. 12. They underwent surgery, and both have since been released from the hospital.
At a court appearance Wednesday, Murray pleaded not guilty to the charges. Both his attorney, Jack Keenan, and the prosecutor, Jack Garden, asked that media requests for photographs and video footage of Murray in the courtroom be denied, citing the ongoing investigation and $300,000 reward for information.
Judge Michael J. Shultz agreed.
“His identity is a material issue in this case,” Shultz said, noting that it “would compromise the defense, the prosecution or both” to visually ID Murray at this time.
Keenan said Murray, who is being housed downtown at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, has been having a difficult time in the facility.
“He doesn’t get fed, his food gets thrown away, he hasn’t eaten today,” he said
Keenan requested that Murray be relocated elsewhere within Twin Towers, or to a different facility altogether, given “the nature of the victims in the case.”
The judge denied that request, but said he would order deputies to reevaluate Murray’s housing and address its propriety. Bail was set at $6.1 million, and Murray is due back in court in November 17.
Murray was previously charged with one felony count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery and assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The charges include allegations of association with a criminal street gang, discharging a rifle inflicting great bodily injury and personal use of an AR-15. He pleaded not guilty.
Capt. Kent Wegener said Wednesday that Murray led investigators on a pursuit before his arrest, during which he threw a pistol from his car. He said a ballistic comparison revealed that the .40 caliber pistol was the same weapon used in the attack on the deputies, and it was linked to Murray through forensic testing. The gun was loaded with eight rounds, five rounds short of its full capacity, he said. And five rounds were fired at the two deputies.
“At this point, investigators believe that Deonte Murray acted alone,” Wegener said.
The shooting of the deputies was captured on surveillance video. It shows a figure in dark clothes casually walk up a pathway near the Compton Blue Line station, approaching the parked patrol car from behind.
The person draws closer and turns to face the passenger door of the black-and-white patrol SUV, his steps quickening. Inches from the window, he raises a gun, opens fire and runs back the way he came.
Moments later, the passenger door opens and a deputy stumbles out, hand on head. The driver’s door opens soon after. On the radio, a garbled voice mutters: “998 Compton Pax.”
“Compton Pax, deputies down,” the wounded deputy says, almost unintelligibly. “Compton Pax 998.”
The female deputy managed to get out of the cruiser and help her partner hide behind a concrete pillar for safety, not knowing whether the gunman was still in the area.
She applied a tourniquet to her partner’s arm, which was bleeding.