A veteran Santa Monica police officer is recovering after he was shot during a traffic stop early Tuesday, May 18th, and the suspected shooter was booked for attempted homicide after he received non-life threatening injuries in a second officer-involved shooting, police said.
The injured police officer, who has served with the Santa Monica Police Department for 16 years, was shot in the abdomen after police conducted a traffic stop at 1:40 a.m. at Lincoln Boulevard and Bay Street to investigate a driver suspected of being under the influence, Sgt. Jay Trisler said.
While officers were administering field sobriety tests of the driver of the black SUV, the passenger exited the vehicle and allegedly shot at the officers, striking one of them, Trisler said. The injured officer who was not identified, remains under observation at a local hospital.
Officers returned fire at the suspect, who fled the scene. The driver, a 46-year-old man from Ohio, was arrested without incident. He was cooperative with investigators and did not face charges related to the attempted homicide, police said.
The Santa Monica police SWAT team and K-9 unit responded to the scene to search for the suspected shooter and various law enforcement agencies from surrounding communities assisted in the effort. Santa Monica police located the suspect in an alley near the traffic stop scene at about 5:10 a.m., when the suspect confronted the canine and officers, Trisler said.
Officers fired at the suspect, who sustained multiple non-life threatening gunshot wounds and was arrested and taken to a local hospital for treatment, Trisler said. The suspect, Dante Glenn Leverette, 32, of Los Angeles, who has a significant criminal history, is expected to survive, Trisler said.
The motive for the shooting is under investigation.
The investigation is being handled by the Santa Monica Police Department Robbery-Homicide Unit, with assistance by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s Officer Involved Shooting Team.