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Police seek public's help in locating man who shot officer

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The officer was checking on a man who was peering into vehicles
  • The man fires at the officer, hitting him in the chest, police say
  • Nine area schools are locked down as police scour the area

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Los Angeles authorities are asking for the public's help in locating a man who shot a police officer and prompted an hours-long lockdown of several schools in the west San Fernando Valley.

The shooting took place Wednesday morning when Officer Jeff Stenroos of the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department got out of his squad car to check on a man peering into parked vehicles near a high school.

The man fired at Stenroos, hitting him once in the chest, police said Thursday evening. The officer's protective vest prevented the bullet from entering his body.

A Good Samaritan used the officer's radio to call for help and tended to Stenroos until medics arrived, the department said.

Police began a massive search for the gunman -- a man in his mid-to-late 40s with long grayish hair pulled into a pony-tail, a thin build and about 5-foot-9.

Students at the high school complained they didn't have food or access to a bathroom while they were kept at school until after dark, reported CNN affiliate KABC-TV.

Nine other area schools were locked down as officers scoured the area.