BARSTOW, Calif. (AP) — A Los Angeles Police Department officer was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of shooting and wounding a fellow LAPD officer while they were off-duty at a Southern California recreation area, authorities said.
Deputies responded to reports of a shooting shortly before 1:30 a.m. in the desert just south of Barstow, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.
They found a 48-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper body, the statement said. The man, whose identity was not immediately released, was airlifted to a hospital in stable condition and is expected to survive, sheriff’s officials said in a statement.
Deputies arrested Ishmail Tamayo, of Ontario, on suspicion of attempted murder. Tamayo, 44, is a Los Angeles police officer, the LAPD said in a statement.
It wasn’t known if Tamayo had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Tamayo, the shooting victim and a third off-duty officer were camping and shooting guns at Stoddard Wells Off-Highway Vehicle Area about 120 miles (194 kilometres) northeast of downtown Los Angeles, the sheriff’s statement said. Stoddard Wells, which offers miles of off-road trails on federal Bureau of Land Management property, is open during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a phone recording at a number listed for the site.
The three men are friends, authorities said, and it’s unclear why or how the victim was shot. The third man was not hurt.
Los Angeles officials were cooperating with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the investigation, LA Police Chief Michel Moore said.
“The events overnight culminating in the serious injury to our off-duty officer, apparently at the hands of another member of this Department, give me great concern,” Moore said in a statement. “I spoke earlier this morning with San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon, pledging our full support of their criminal investigation. I am thankful our injured officer is in stable condition and expected to survive. I am committed to determining what and how this occurred.”
Tamayo was in possession of a firearm when he was arrested without incident, the LAPD statement said.
The LAPD has opened an internal probe into the incident.
“Officer Tamayo has been relieved of his police powers pending the outcome of the criminal and administrative investigation,” the LAPD statement said.