Man Charged in Shooting of 2 Los Angeles County Deputies

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva
Sheriff Alex Villanueva

Ambush Shooting

On September 12, two deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, were sitting in their car when a man ran up to the side of the vehicle, fired several shots into it, then fled the scene. Deputies Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez were both hit.

Deputy Apolinar helped Deputy Perez out of the vehicle and applied a tourniquet to his wounds even though she too, had been hit. The two deputies had graduated at the same time from Sheriff’s Academy class only 14 months previous to the shooting.


Naturally a manhunt had been underway for the shooter. It turns out, the shooter, Deonte Lee Murray, was arrested just three days later on September 15, for a carjacking. Murray had been seen tossing a gun, which was taken as evidence. Sheriff Villanueva said that his department suspected that Murray might be the shooter but had to get all the evidence and witness statements before they could be sure. Balistics verified that the gun officers recovered was the gun that was used to shoot the deputies. Several days later, forensic testing linked the gun to Murray.

According to CBS Los Angeles,

“Murray has an extensive criminal history that includes convictions for sales of narcotics, firearm possession by a felon, burglary and terrorist threats. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged.”

According to the ABC 7 article, authorities said that Murray was associated with several gangs. This seems kind of weird to me since gangs demand loyalty. I can’t see them letting a member be part of other gangs as well. Regardless, Murray is well established as a criminal.

According to CBS News, Murray was charged,

“…with one felony count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery and assault with a semi-automatic firearm for that incident and pleaded not guilty.

Two additional charges stemming from the earlier crime — attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon — have since been added, prosecutors said. Murray’s bail was increased from just over $1 million to $6.15 million as a result of the new charges.”

Ghost Gun

This was a bad situation. The only good parts are that the deputies are doing well and the shooter was caught. But there is a part of the story that is being glossed over that’s a huge issue. Deonte Lee Murray shot the deputies with a ghost gun. A ghost gun is a gun that is sold in unfinished pieces that the buyer then puts together. Because the pieces are unfinished, they do not qualify as gun parts and don’t have serial numbers on them. A buyer doesn’t have to get a background check for one of these guns. In other words, anyone can get one.

To “finish” the parts, the buyer may have to drill a hole or two. According to an article on ghost guns, by 60 Minutes, the kit they bought even came with the drill bits that would be needed to finish off the parts and YouTube has videos on how to put them together. The lack of regulations make these guns almost impossible to track. Is it any surprise that the worst elements of our society would want them?

According to the 60 Minutes article,

“Here’s what our reporting found, contacting local and national law enforcement over the course of a year and a half: at least 38 states and Washington D.C. have seen criminal cases involving ghost guns. 

There were at least four mass shootings, violent police shootouts, high-profile busts of gangs making and selling ghost guns on the street, and cases involving terrorism and white supremacists.”

The gun lobby has fought tooth and nail to stop any kind of accountability regarding gun ownership and because of that, nothing has been done to fix the loophole in the system that allows criminals, terrorist and white supremacists to get ghost guns without being detected. But the gun lobby is, supposedly, extremely pro-law enforcement. Will they be willing to lobby for serial numbers and regulations on these types of sales to protect officers or will they suddenly forget their pro-law enforcement stance?

I won’t hold my breath waiting for them. We need to be willing to push for legislation that will close these loopholes. Lives depend on it.

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