Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday that protesters calling for the death of two deputies who are being treated after being ambushed by a gunman represent a “new low” for the nation and “something almost worthy of ISIS.”
“It’s just a new low for the hatred that I don’t think anyone in this nation has ever seen before,” Villanueva said during an interview with Fox News.
“We just don’t expect it on our own shores, and we have been here fighting to save people’s lives across the county — it doesn’t matter who you are and it is not something we are going to expect or tolerate,” Villanueva said.
On Saturday night, a gunman shot the two deputies, a 31-year-old mother and her 24-year-old partner, four or five times in their parked cruiser outside the MLK Transit Center in Compton, Calif. Surveillance video of the shooting shows the gunman walking up to the passenger side of the deputies’ car, lifting a pistol, firing at them, and then running away.
The deputies were in stable condition in intensive care as of Tuesday, Villanueva told CNN on Tuesday, although they still have a “long way to recovery and a lot of subsequent surgeries.”
Protesters gathered outside the hospital where the deputies were being treated on Saturday night and chanted for their deaths while blocking the doors to the emergency room, according to police.
Authorities are still searching for the shooter, and there is a $200,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Villanueva also challenged LeBron James to condemn the attack on law enforcement and criticized the Los Angeles Lakers star for propagating the idea that black men are being hunted by racist cops.
“This challenge is to LeBron James. I want you to match that and double that reward,” Villanueva said. “I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African American community.”
“And I appreciated that,” he continued. “But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.”