LOS ANGELES (AP) – An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was shot in the chest with his own gun Wednesday in a struggle with a man who had broken into his car, authorities said.
The suspect also was wounded in the struggle but both men are expected to survive, police said.
The shootout took place at around 2:30 p.m. after the officer and a woman left their apartment in the Sherman Oaks area and went to an underground garage, where they saw a man inside the officer’s personal vehicle, Police Chief Michel Moore said.
The man was wearing the officer’s bulletproof vest and had the officer’s gun, which had been stored in a bag, Moore said.
The officer confronted the man and there was a fight that turned into “what we believe to be a gun battle between the both of them, with the suspect using the officer’s primary duty weapon,” the chief said.
The officer defended himself and the battle moved to a breezeway behind the apartment building, where the suspect was shot and collapsed.
The officer seized his gun and walked back to his car, where he collapsed.
The officer was shot in the chest and thigh and the suspect was hit in the arm, shoulder and leg, Moore said.
Both were taken to hospitals.
The officer, who underwent surgery, is “grateful to be alive but he is not out of the woods yet,” the chief said.
The woman wasn’t harmed.
Moore didn’t name the officer or the suspect but said the crime appeared to be random rather than targeted.
Details of the shooting were still being investigated, including whether the officer had properly secured the weapon.
“Our expectation of our personnel is that they lock and secure, that they make every reasonable effort to ensure the safety and security of those weapons,” Moore said.
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