Gunman Fires at Vice Officers

March 9, 2007

Los Angeles: Two Los Angeles police officers working undercover were fired upon while they were conducting an operation in and around the Wyvenwood Housing Development.

On March 7, 2007, at about 10:20 PM, Detective Gabriel Barboza and Werner Flores were in an unmarked police vehicle southbound on Grande Vista from 8th Street when they saw a Hispanic suspect flashing gang signs. As the officers passed Lydia Drive, the suspect pulled out a handgun from his waistband and fired at the officers’ vehicle.

The officers returned fire, but the suspect ran away into a nearby apartment.

Responding officers surrounded the apartment and captured the suspect without further incident. Robbery-Homicide detectives responded and assisted with the follow up investigation. A search warrant was obtained and evidence was found to link the suspect to the crime.

Neither the officers, nor the suspect were injured.

The suspect has been identified as Benjamin Espinoza, 20, of Los Angeles. He was booked for Attempt Murder on a Police Officer.

Detective Gabriel Barboza, 44, has 18 years with the LAPD. Officer Werner Flores, 31, has 10 years with the Department.