LA County deputy sheriff hit by sniper targeting cops

A sniper opened fire at a Los Angeles County sheriff's station on Wednesday afternoon, wounding a deputy and sending police SWAT teams hunting for a gunman on the loose in buildings nearby.

The deputy, Angel Reinosa, 21, was shot in the chest as he walked outside the Lancaster City, California, station about 2:45 p.m. (2145 GMT), headed for his car parked near the station's helicopter landing pad.

However, body armor deflected the bullet, which grazed his shoulder, sheriff's spokesman Marvin Crowder said.

"We're very fortunate that he is going to be all right," Crowder said. "But this is a very, very dangerous situation."

"We have a gunman out there targeting law enforcement but have no ID, no suspect description," he said.

There were at least two shots fired. Police sources told the Los Angeles Times that the bullets came from a high-velocity rifle.

A police SWAT team searched a four-story apartment building near the station as a possible location for the shooter, police said.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Paris told the newspaper the shooting was incomprehensible in the southern California city of about 170,000, about 70 miles (112 km) north of Los Angeles.

"He is walking out of the sheriff's station, and a sniper took a shot at him," Paris said.

Police warned nearby residents to stay indoors.

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