Man who shot two LASD deputies in revenge attack convicted of attempted murder
The suspect ambushed the deputies while they were sitting in a cruiser and shot both deputies at point-blank range before running away
By Matthew Ormseth
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — A Compton man was found guilty Thursday of committing 10 felonies during an 11-day period that culminated in the attempted murders of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies.
After a two-month trial, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury convicted Deonte Lee Murray, 39, of attempted murder, carjacking, robbery, assault with a firearm and possessing a gun as a felon, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Eric Siddall, one of the prosecutors who charged Murray.
The jury found true allegations that Murray used a gun in each crime and that the attempted murders of the deputies, Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez-Perez, were willful and premeditated, Siddall said. Murray was also convicted of attempting to murder a man whom he mistook for a plainclothes detective.
Murray faces life in prison when he is sentenced, Siddall said. No hearing has been set because a judge must now hold a second trial on Murray’s prior record; if he is found to have a prior strike, his prison term will be doubled, Siddall said.
Murray’s lawyer, Kate Hardie, declined to comment.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Lonseth told the jury in his closing argument last week that Murray, infuriated by the killing of his best friend by sheriff’s deputies, sought revenge — first by raking an SUV parked outside the Compton courthouse with bullets from an assault rifle. Murray believed the man in the driver’s seat was a detective, Lonseth said. In fact, he’d simply filed some paperwork at the courthouse and was participating in a Zoom meeting from his car.
Upset the 2020 shooting didn’t make the news, the prosecutor said, Murray walked up to two uniformed deputies, Apolinar and Perez-Perez, who were sitting in a patrol car at a Metro station in Compton. Murray shot both deputies at point-blank range before running away, according to video played for the jury. Apolinar was shot in the jaw and forearm, while bullets struck Perez-Perez’s forehead, arm and hand.
Murray was also convicted of robbing a man of his Mercedes-Benz and shooting him in the leg 10 days before he tried to kill the deputies.
Testifying in his own defense, Murray admitted shooting all four people but claimed he hadn’t intended to kill them. His attorney argued that after his friend, Samuel Herrera, was killed by deputies, Murray went on a two-day bender, fueled by cognac and methamphetamine.
He was acting erratically and on impulse when he pulled the trigger, she told the jury, not out of a calculated plan to murder police officers.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.