The Los Angeles County Sheriff has issued a $175,000 reward challenge to basketball star LeBron James in connection with the ambush-style shootings of two deputies.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva made the comments on KABC radio.
The sheriff “issued a challenge to LA Lakers star and social activist LeBron James,” the radio station reported. “Villanueva challenged the Lakers’ star to match the reward money that has been put up for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the ambush shooting. According to Villanueva, the amount already pledged by the county is $100,000 plus private pledges of $50,000 and $25,000. Sheriff Villanueva challenged James to double the $175,000 amount to $350,000.”
You can listen to the audio of the sheriff’s challenge here.
It wasn’t clear whether James is aware of the sheriff’s challenge or what his response is going to be.
Here’s what you need to know:
James Has Spoken Out About Police Shootings
According to Fox News, the sheriff said:
This challenge is to LeBron James. I want you to match that and double that reward. 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. But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across all professions.
James has spoken out about police shootings. “And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted,” James wrote previously on Twitter. He was speaking of the Kenosha police shooting of Jacob Blake. “This s— [sic] is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”
He’s also tweeted about what he called “SYSTEMIC POLICING BEHAVIOR!!!!!!”
The deputies’ names have not yet been released. The suspect is not yet known. The Sheriff’s Department said it has received support from throughout the country. “We are humbled in the tremendous outpouring of Love, overwhelming show of support & uplifting words & acts of kindness from the public & our Brothers in Blue, both near & far, for the deputies ambushed in Compton,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter. “We remain steadfast in Fighting the Good Fight.”
James’ most recent tweet on the evening of September 14 was a retweet about voting.
— attn (@attn) September 15, 2020
On September 13, he wrote, “Waking up excited as hell for NFL Football Sunday Week 1!!! All day long I’ll be watching. Let’s go @Browns!! #DoggPound Dog face.”
The Officers Were Ambushed as They Sat in Their Squad Car, Video Shows
Update: The gunman walked up on the deputies and opened fire without warning or provocation. pic.twitter.com/cBQjyKkoxJ
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) September 13, 2020
The Sheriff’s Department earlier released a video showing the suspect shooting into the squad car. The department says the shooting was unprovoked and occurred as the officers sat in their car at a transit station. You can watch that video above.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wrote on Twitter:
“… 2 of our Sheriff Deputies were shot in Compton and were transported to a local hospital. They are both still fighting for their lives, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. … One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition. They are both currently undergoing surgery. The suspect is still at large.”
President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter of the Compton shooting, “Animals that must be hit hard!”
“God bless them, it looks like they’re going to be able to recover,” the sheriff said previously of the wounded deputies, according to The Associated Press. “They survived the worst.”
According to The New York Times, the male deputy is 24, and the female deputy is the 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced a $100,000 reward in the manhunt for the suspect. People with tips are urged to call 323-890-5500.
The reward poster says that, around 6:58 p.m, the lone gunman ambushed the deputies as they sat in their patrol vehicle at MLK Transit Center.
The suspect was described as a Black male, 28-30 years old, wearing dark clothing. He was last seen northbound on Willowbrook Avenue in a black 4-door sedan.