Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials Saturday identified a man who they believe shot a West Covina police officer during a gun fight as the search continued.
Jose Luis Chavez, 47, is described as being Hispanic, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 225 pounds and having a left eyebrow piercing. He is wanted on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, sheriff's officials said.
The incident began when the officer contacted a man riding a bike shortly before 11:20 p.m. Friday on North Yaleton Avenue near Badillo Street in West Covina, according to a sheriff's news release.
The initial contact led to a gun fight between the bicyclist, believed to be Chavez, and the officer, who was shot in the upper torso, the release stated.
Multiple shots were fired, witnesses told KTLA.
“There was gunfire, very prominent … heard four to six shots right here, and a lot of cars screeching,” said Jimmy Hernandez, a local resident. “Next thing I know, 15 minutes later, there must have been 30 cops coming in each direction.”
The wounded policeman was transported to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery, West Covina Police Department Chief Dave Faulkner tweeted.
By 4 a.m., his condition had "improved considerably," Faulkner tweeted.
The officer is expected to survive.
Authorities set up a perimeter as they continued to look for for the gunman, who remained at-large Saturday afternoon, investigators said. SWAT officers, a helicopter and K-9 units have been utilized in the hourslong search, video from the scene showed.
“The suspect is within our containment. We believe that he is armed and he is a danger to the community at this time," said sheriff's Lt. Joe Mendoza. "We will be here until we capture him.”
It was unknown whether Chavez was also struck by gunfire.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323- 890-5500.
Anonymous tips can also be left by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477, texting the letters TIPLA plus a tip to 274637, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.
KTLA's Cindy Von Quednow contributed to this story.