The trial has concluded for Deonte Lee Murray, the suspect accused of shooting two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in an unprovoked attack. Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Lonseth presented his closing argument, stating that Murray had been on a crime rampage leading up to the shooting. The crime spree began with a shooting and carjacking 11 days prior, escalating when Murray’s best friend was killed in a confrontation with deputies. Seeking revenge, Murray shot a man outside the Compton courthouse whom he mistook for a detective. Angered by the lack of media coverage, he then targeted the two deputies, Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez-Perez, at a Metro station. The jury is now deliberating.
During the trial, Murray admitted to shooting all four victims. His defense lawyer, Kate Hardie, argued that the only question was intent, claiming that Murray acted on impulse due to grief and substance abuse. The jury will determine whether the shooting was premeditated.
The crimes committed by Murray began on September 1, 2020, when he stole a Mercedes-Benz at gunpoint after shooting the owner. Murray claimed he won the car in a dice game but confronted the owner due to spreading rumors about his involvement in a woman’s death. Nine days later, Murray’s best friend was killed in a confrontation with deputies, leading to Murray’s alleged revenge plot.
Murray’s actions culminated in the shooting of the two deputies at a Compton courthouse. Surveillance footage captured Murray approaching the patrol car and shooting through the front passenger’s window before fleeing the scene. Both deputies survived the attack, with Apolinar tending to her partner’s wounds despite being shot herself.
Prosecutors have charged another individual, Kevin Cataneo Salazar, with the murder of a sheriff’s deputy in Palmdale. Salazar has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.