A former convict arrested earlier this month for a carjacking has been charged with attempted murder of two Los Angeles County deputies, who were wounded in a shooting outside a Compton transit station on September 12, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Deonte Lee Murray, 36, was charged Wednesday with two counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer and possession of a firearm by a felon, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacy said. Murray faces a potential sentence of life in prison if convicted, Lacey said, adding that she believes the case is “strong,” according to KFI AM 640. Murray pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Murray has been behind bars since September 15, when he was arrested on September 15 and charged with one count each of carjacking, second-degree robbery, and assault with a semi-automatic firearm — along with gang and gun allegations –in connection with an incident on September 1 in Compton, where he allegedly shot a man in the leg with a rifle and stole his black Mercedes. He had already entered not guilty pleas to those charges.
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The deputies’ shooting was captured on surveillance footage, which showed a man walk up from behind the patrol car, then abruptly turn and walk to it, opening fire at the deputies inside. The two — a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man — were hit by multiple bullets and rushed to the hospital in critical condition, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who initially told reporters after Murray’s arrest in the carjacking case that there was no connection with the deputies’ shooting, said that both deputies are now recovering at home.
LASD Capt Kent Wegener said Wednesday that Murray allegedly fled the scene of the deputies’ shooting in the stolen Mercedes, the CBS station reported. Three days later, he discarded a pistol while under pursuit by sheriff’s investigators, Wegener said, and was captured after a 10-hour standoff in Lynwood. Ballistics proved the gun was the one used in the deputies’ shooting, he said, and it was “conclusively linked through forensic testing” to Murray.
“We knew that he was a violent offender, was accused of stealing a black Mercedes-Benz and lived in the area,” Wegener said. “However, there was insufficient evidence to support an arrest, much less a criminal filing for the charge of attempted murder on a peace officer and to label him in the media as the person responsible.”
“As the investigation progressed, we gathered sufficient evidence to substantiate not only the arrest but the filing of criminal charges in this case,” he added.
Murray has prior convictions for sales and possession of narcotics, firearm possession by a felon or addict, receiving stolen property, burglary, and terrorist threats, Wegener said.
Murray was being held with a bail just over $1 million; it was raised to $6.15 million on Wednesday. His next court appearance is November 17.
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