More than 200 law enforcement officers went house to house yesterday in the south Los Angeles County city of Gardena, searching for three men involved in the shooting of a local patrol officer. A suspect was apprehended hiding in a backyard hot tub.

Gardena police believe the captured suspect was the shooter.

The Gardena patrol officer was wounded in a running gun battle shortly before noon outside of a Pizza Hut at the corner of Normandie and Rosecrans. The officer, whose name was not released, was hit twice in the thigh. At presstime, he was in stable condition.

Reports say that the officer had just pulled into the restaurant's parking lot when he spotted three men running across Rosecrans Avenue, a very busy street. He ordered the men to stop, but they scattered.

The officer chased one of the men behind the restaurant. There, they exchanged at least 10 shots.

After the shooting, Gardena police and Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies scoured the neighborhood looking for the shooter. The search involved K-9s, including bloodhounds, and helicopters equipped with infrared optics.

Around 8 p.m., the dogs led officers to a backyard about four blocks from the shooting scene. There, they found a man inside a hot tub in the water with the lid closed. The man, who matched the description of the shooter, was taken into custody.

 

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