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LASD mourns another loss


A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant was fatally injured early this week in a patrol car crash in Compton that occurred after the victim suffered from a heart attack.

The crash happened about 5:20 a.m. at Myrrh Street and Willowbrook Avenue. Sgt. Al Lopez, 47, a 26-year veteran of the department, died at St. Francis Medical Center, according to the sheriff’s department.

Lopez had transferred to the sheriff’s Compton Station about a year ago.

“It is a tremendous loss to all of us,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell told reporters in a briefing outside the medical facility.

Lopez had gotten into his patrol car to assist other deputies who were involved in a pursuit of a stolen car, McDonnell said. However, the pursuit was called off about the time that the sergeant was pulling out of the parking lot of the Compton Station, McDonnell said.

A short time later, about 100 yards away, the patrol car crashed into a wrought-iron fence, McDonnell said. The chase had been called off for safety reasons, in part because of the rainy weather, the sheriff said.