Speaking at a press conference near the scene, a CHP spokesperson identified the male officer only as a 27-year-old who has worked for the agency for just under a year.
The suspect, Pejhmaun Iraj Khosroabadi, a 33-year-old war veteran, was considered armed and dangerous before he was found hiding in a tent on Gloria Avenue in Van Nuys. The Los Angeles Police Department said a 4-year-old K-9 hunting dog named Piper picked up the scent of blood left by the suspect in his apartment and tracked him down.
“We expect our sleuths to perform well,” the LAPD sergeant said. Desi Ehrlich told reporters. “Twelve hours is a long period of time to acquire a scent trail and take us to the source of this smell. So we are very proud of Piper, we are very proud of the manager, of all the work that everyone did today on the bloodhound squad.”
Other people who were also found inside the tent were released shortly afterwards.
Deric Lewis told Eyewitness News he was surprised when officers suddenly dragged him out of his tent early Tuesday morning, along with his girlfriend and the suspect. Lewis says Khosroabadi entered his tent last night armed, hiding from law enforcement.
Lewis claims Khosroabadi admitted shooting the CHP officer.
“He says he’s a Marine and he didn’t want to go to jail, and he had troop members who committed suicide. He was nervous all night and he had a gun,” said Lewis. “We just gave him cigarettes and talked to him. He said he shot that officer, he told us, and he had blood all over his clothes.
“He kept saying ‘I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead.’ He kept saying that, but I’m sure he probably has some kind of PTSD,” Lewis said. “He said he was in one of the bloodiest battles in Afghanistan, but he also said he had two platoon members this week to kill themselves.”
Investigators say a Glock firearm with an extended magazine, believed to have been used in the shooting, was found and recovered.
The manhunt for Khosroabadi began just before 8 p.m. Monday when an officer attempted to carry out a traffic stop at the intersection of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Landale Street, according to the CHP.
Witnesses told ABC7 the driver initially refused to stop. Eventually, the driver and officer pulled into the parking lot of Campbell Hall Episcopal, a private K-12 elementary school.
The driver got out of the car and a physical altercation ensued. That’s when authorities said the suspect pulled out a gun and fired several bullets, hitting the officer multiple times, before fleeing.
Shortly after the shooting, a large police presence surrounded an apartment complex in the Saticoy Street and Haskell Avenue area of Van Nuys where the shooter lives and is believed to be barricaded.
A car matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle was found near the apartment complex. Video from the scene captured loud explosions as SWAT officers attempted to extricate the suspect from the apartment complex, but he was not found there after several hours.
Meanwhile, the injured officer was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and was last listed in critical but stable condition in intensive care. He is expected to survive, said officer Ramberto Salcido, a CHP spokesman.
Khosroabadi should be charged with attempted murder of a peace officer.
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