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LA School Officer Shot Near Campus, Saved by Vest

LA School Officer Shot Near Campus, Saved by Vest

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Associated Press

January 20, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A school police officer was shot by a suspected car burglar near a San Fernando Valley high school Wednesday but his bulletproof vest saved him, authorities said. Officers swept a wide area, locking down nine schools in a dragnet for the shooter.

“He is a lucky man. The vest did its job and stopped the bullet,” Dr. Stephen Jones, medical director of emergency services of Northridge Hospital Medical Center, said of the officer. Stenroos was released from the hospital Wednesday night.

The bullet “did not penetrate the chest itself, but instead it bounced off the chest and caused a bruise to his chest,” Jones said. “He also suffered a fall, understandably, when you’re hit by a bullet, and he suffered minor injuries to his head and back in the fall itself, but nothing that is serious.” he added.

Jones said he spoke briefly with the officer.

“It was kind of a mixture of, ‘Boy, am I lucky,’ with the sheer … impact of having someone point a gun at you and feeling the impact of the bullet,” Jones said.

Nine schools with about 9,000 students were locked down as more than 350 police officers, sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers scoured 7 square miles of the affluent Woodland Hills neighborhood around El Camino Real High School for the gunman, described as man in his 40s with long brown hair.

The shooter remained at large Wednesday night.

Schools were released from lockdown as their areas were deemed safe. All students had been allowed to go home by Wednesday evening.

West Hills resident Uma Karuppiah, 39, waited for an hour at her younger son’s school, Welby Way Elementary, then she lined up outside her older son’s school, Hale Middle School.

Karuppiah said she didn’t explain to her second-grader exactly why the school was locked down, but she was anticipating a lot of questions from her sixth-grader when he was released from school.

“I’ll tell him the truth — that this kind of thing can happen, not just on TV and sometimes close to home,” she said. “I think the response was an overreaction. At least at the elementary school. This school is closer to where it happened, but still.”

Karothik Karuppiah, 7, said he had to share his lunch with classmates who didn’t bring their own because no one was allowed to go to the cafeteria.

“We weren’t allowed to go to the bathroom so the teacher put up a curtain in the closet and kids had to pee in a trash can,” Karothik Karuppiah said.

Also Wednesday, a 16-year-old boy was shot in a restaurant parking lot near his high school in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell, authorities said.

The Bell High School student was shot once in the abdomen, but his vital signs were good when he was taken to a hospital, Bell police Captain Anthony Miranda said.

A preliminary investigation determined the lone shot came from a pickup truck that sped away after the shooting, Miranda said. No arrests have been made, but authorities were questioning a person of interest in the case Wednesday evening.

The attacks occurred a day after an accidental shooting at a high school across the city wounded two students. Police said a gun that a student smuggled in a backpack accidentally went off in a class at Gardena High School in south Los Angeles.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the neck and a 15-year-old girl was hit in the head with the same bullet. The boy was listed in good condition, and the girl was in critical condition Wednesday but had shown promise by opening her eyes and moving her body to commands, a doctor said.

Three students were arrested in that shooting, but no students were involved in Wednesday’s shooting, district officials said.

The 30-year-old Stenroos, an eight-year veteran, was patrolling sometime after 11:30 a.m. when he confronted a man who appeared to breaking into some cars on a city street just off campus, Steven K. Zipperman, police chief for the Los Angeles Unified School District said.

The man got out of a car and fired several times, hitting Stenroos at least once in the chest, city Police Chief Charlie Beck said.

“The officer stumbled or made it back to his car, at which time a Good Samaritan, local resident, went to offer aid to the officer, got on the radio and put out the ‘officer needs help’ call,” Beck said.

The El Camino campus was locked down along with a nearby middle school and seven elementary schools under a “campus protection” policy used when there is police activity nearby, school officials said.

A large area was sealed off by police, meaning most parents who tried to come to pick up their children were held several blocks away.

Associated Press writers Raquel Maria Dillon, John Rogers and Thomas Watkins contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50


    about 3 years ago


    glad this officer is okay!

  • 20552_1343137337912_1215571721_31006460_5991340_n_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Body armor does it's job again, and another officer lives to battle crime another day. Two thumbs up!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago


    Thank god the vest did it's job and he was able to go home!! Biggest problem is that almost anyone can get a vest now. But hopefully they get the perp. and hangem!!

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    about 3 years ago


    This officers guardian angels were on the job along with his vest. He will live to fight another day.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago

    I would rather be laying on a hospital bed complaining about having a big bruise, and possible broken ribs than laying in a casket. Period. Always wear the vest.

  • Mardi_gras_cat_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump all the messages to wear your vest. I would rather you all be a little uncomfortable and make it home...

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 3 years ago

    close to home. maybe it got my kid to wake up a little as i always preach to her about you never know who is standing next to you in line at the market. this one was close to her house so it seemed to sink in a bit.

    Praise God the officer is ok. a reminder of how fast it happens.
    another scum that thought nothing of icing a cop. please be extra careful out there.

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8


    about 3 years ago


    I am living proof that the vest can save your life. This officer is not lucky, he is blessed.

  • Images_5__max50


    about 3 years ago


    * always

  • Radio2_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Glad the Officer is ok..

  • Adp_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Sadly, I know of a couple LAUSD Coppers that are forced to drive their personal vehicles to their assignments, and don't have a squad to use!!! Get with it LAUSD! Glad that this copper made it!

  • 9-11_1_sq90_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Proof positive Vest's saves lives

  • Images_5__max50


    about 3 years ago


    Bump Bury & HEYSARGE.... "Alaways wear that vest!" It saved one of my officers last year. Glad the officer is 10-4.

  • Tlusa_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Holy crap! 350 cops on the hunt for this dirt bag...that's a lot of polyester in one place. Just glad that the officer is OK.

  • Az_phx_motorcade1a_max50


    about 3 years ago


    If you wear a badge ... wear a vest!!

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