Daniel Yealu was upbeat when he talked to his father last year. He told him that he was making good money as a security guard, had applied to get into the Burbank police academy and hoped to soon buy a condominium.
But on Monday night, the 29-year-old allegedly walked into a Los Angeles Police Department station, approached the front desk and opened fire at two officers. One was wounded before the pair returned fire, critically wounding the suspect.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Yealu used a Glock pistol and was carrying extra magazines. A “heavily modified” AK-47 was found in his car parked outside the Wilshire Division station, police said, and more high-powered weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were later found at Yealu’s home.
“By the grace of God, the suspect did not come in with the assault weapons that he has had access to,” Beck said.
Investigators are still trying to determine what prompted the attack, saying only that Yealu told the officers he had a complaint before he began shooting.
LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said Yealu had applied to become an LAPD officer but was rejected. The city personnel department said he sought the job in 2009 and had passed a written test.
Officials believe the violence Monday night could have been a lot worse had the gunman not been subdued quickly — about 20 people were attending a community meeting just feet from where the shots were fired.
“The belief was he was going to go a lot further than just the two people at the front desk,” Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said.
Authorities were also trying to determine how he obtained what Beck described as an “armament” of weapons: a 9-millimeter handgun, a semi-automatic Sig Sauer handgun, an AR-15-style assault rifle, a 1960s SKS model assault rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun.
State records showed Yealu obtained a license to work as a security guard in 2005, and got a firearm permit in 2007. But both expired Dec. 31, 2013, after he failed to pay necessary fees, a Department of Consumer affairs spokeswoman said.
Yealu was still in the hospital in critical condition Tuesday.