Police Ambushed, One Officer Shot (Update)

August 13, 2006

The suspect responsible for the shooting of Hollenbeck officers is Jose Perez, 31-year-old of Los Angeles. Perez was booked for Attempted Murder of a Police Officer. Bail is set for $2,000,000.00.

Los Angeles: On Saturday, August 12, 2006, the passenger in a black Honda charged Los Angeles police officers, and he fired at them with an AK-47 assault rifle. One officer was seriously injured, while the second officer returned fire injuring the gunman. The gunman and the Honda’s driver were both arrested.

"There’s no other word for it — this was an attempted assassination of two police officers," said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. "We can credit the officers’ quick reactions and excellent training for keeping these two violent criminals from getting away."

The incident started Saturday night around 11:00 PM when Officer John Porras, 48, and his partner James Tuck, 26, made a traffic stop in Montecito Heights, north of Lincoln High School. The police car rolled to a stop behind the Honda on Sierra Street, north of Flora Avenue. The passenger in the black Honda jumped out of the car and charged the officers, raking the police car with rounds from an AK 47 assault rifle.

The majority of the bullets hit the passenger side of the police car through the windshield, striking Officer Tuck at least three times. One round went through his ballistic vest and into his stomach. Another round nearly severed his left hand at the wrist.

Tuck’s training officer, 18-year veteran John Porras, was able to get out of the police car and return fire as the gunman continued firing across the right side of the police car. The gunman was wounded in the leg and dropped his rifle. The gunman ran about two houses and hid in the yard. He was quickly arrested, treated at the scene, then taken to a local hospital.

Meanwhile, the Honda’s driver drove off, leaving his passenger behind. Police found the black Honda abandoned about one block north at Gillig Avenue, east of Sierra Street. Prowler calls from neighbors to 9-1-1 provided clues to the driver’s hiding place. After about 90 minutes of searching with canine units, and thanks to calls from local residents, a man believed to be the driver was detained. Police continued searching for another hour to ensure there were no other suspects.

Paramedics took Officer Tuck to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, where he was listed in serious but stable condition. He will be transferred to another hospital to undergo surgery to save the use of this left hand. Tuck’s parents and his brother, who is also an LAPD officer, were at his side at the hospital.

Officer Porras was treated for injuries from glass fragments to his face.

The officers’ police car was riddled with bullet holes. "It’s a miracle that neither officer was killed," said LAPD spokesman Lieutenant Paul Vernon.

As the investigation unfolded, detectives learned the black Honda, which had paper dealer license plates, had been stolen on July 28th in the Northeast Area.

The suspects were both Hispanic men in their mid-thirties. Detectives are still trying to confirm their identities. Their names will be released once they are confirmed. Both suspects face charges of Attempted Murder of Police Officers.

Officer Tuck graduated from the police academy approximately nine months ago. He is just weeks away from completing his probationary period as an LAPD officer.

Chief Bratton has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow, August 14, at 10:00 AM to address the ambush and his concern in the rise of firearm assaults on officers this year. The news conference will be held at the Metropolitan Dispatch Center, next door to Parker Center.

For additional information, please call Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.