Authorities on Thursday said a "pellet gun rifle" has been recovered in one of the units of an apartment building where they believe someone shot at and injured a deputy at the nearby Lancaster Sheriff's Station. It was unclear, however, if that was the weapon used in the attack.
The new information was released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Thursday afternoon as they searched for the assailant in what investigators described as a "targeted" attack.
Deputy Angel Reinosa, 21, was hit by the gunfire around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday as he headed to his personal vehicle in the parking lot of the station, located at 501 Lancaster Blvd., according to the Sheriff's Department. He was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time.
Reinosa, a rookie, received a "non-penetrating" wound to the top of his right shoulder; the damage to his uniform in that area was "consistent with a gunshot," a sheriff's news release stated.
The wound was described as "very minor," and Reinosa is recovering and in stable condition.
His uniform, along with the pellet gun, will undergo forensics testing at a sheriff's crime lab, according to the department.
Authorities were unable to locate the person responsible for injuring him despite an intense manhunt that included SWAT teams and lasted into the overnight hours. Containment was broken down around 4 a.m. without anyone being arrested or detained in connection with the incident, the department tweeted.
Investigators believe someone shot at the deputy from an apartment building adjacent to a Mental Health America facility that provides counseling for people with mental health issues, according to Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
"It’s a four-story apartment building that is government-subsidized for mentally ill people,” the mayor said.
The complex sits about a block north of the sheriff's station.
SWAT teams combed the building unit-by-unit while the perimeter was set up in the area; some residents were told to evacuate, while others were given a shelter-in-place order.
A nearby grammar school was also evacuated, while some 50 L.A. County fire personnel were placed on standby in case more shots were fired, according to officials.
Authorities have not identified a suspect in the case, nor have they released a description of the assailant.
Investigators don't believe Reinosa was specifically targeted, but that the person was targeting "a deputy," according to the release. They described it as an "isolated incident" and that there was no further threat to the community.
Reinosa has been with the department about a year and has been training at the station since May.
“As the mayor of Lancaster, I cannot begin to tell the people of Lancaster how sorry I am that we now live in a city that had this occur in it,” Parris said. “How is it possible one of our newest deputies gunned down while he was getting into his car? It shakes the core of everything we have.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or leave a tip anonymously by dialing 800-222-8477.