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Gunman who opened fire at L.A. police had applied to join department

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gunman who opened fire in a Los Angeles police station, shooting an officer seven times in the arms and torso as he returned fire, had previously applied to join the department, a police spokesmen said on Tuesday.

The wounded officer remained hospitalized in good condition a day after the attack, while the suspected gunman, who also was struck by multiple bullets, was listed in serious but stable condition at a hospital, said Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Officer Sara Faden.

The shooter, who has been identified as Daniel Yealu, 29, walked into the lobby of the West Traffic Division at about 8 p.m. local time on Monday and told two officers at the desk that he had a complaint, then pulled a semi-automatic handgun and fired repeatedly at one of the officers, police officials said.

The officer, a seven-year veteran, fired back, as did his partner, a policewoman with four years on the force, striking the gunman multiple times, police Commander Andrew Smith said.

An investigation has revealed Yealu once applied to join the LAPD, said Faden, who added that it was not immediately clear if he had withdrawn his application or been rejected.

It was not immediately known when Yealu applied to join the police force, and Faden said it was too early in the probe to determine if his application was a motivating factor.

Yealu was booked at the hospital on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder, and his bail has been set at $2 million, Faden said.

The wounded officer's partner was not hurt but is cited as a victim, in addition to the wounded officer, since she was at the station desk when the gunman opened fire, Faden said.

At the time of the incident, the officer who was shot was not wearing a bulletproof vest, which is required only during patrols, police said.

Police said detectives were looking into any possible connection between Monday night's attack and an unsolved shooting ambush last June outside the Los Angeles police's Wilshire Station a short distance away, although the two incidents did not immediately appear to be related.

Two detectives were wounded in the Wilshire Station incident but survived, and their assailant remained at large, Smith said.

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Scott Malone, Cynthia Johnston, Gunna Dickson and Ken Wills)

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