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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has challenged NBA superstar LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers to increase the reward fund for the shooter who ambushed two LA County deputies on Saturday night.
Speaking Monday on KABC-AM, Villanueva said that in addition to a $100,000 reward posted by the county for information leading the shooter’s arrest, private donors have chipped in $75,000.
“I want to make a challenge,” the sheriff said. “This challenge is to LeBron James. I want you to match that and double that reward.
“Because I know you care about law enforcement. You expressed a very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and on officer-involved shootings and the impact that it has on the African-American community. And I appreciate that.
“But likewise, we need to appreciate that respect for life goes across professions, across races, creeds, and I’d like to see LeBron James step up to the plate and double that.”
“Let’s see what he does,” Villanueva said later. “I’ll be very curious to see what his response is, if any.”
Host John Phillips later added, “LeBron, get out your checkbook. Put your money where your mouth is.”
As of Tuesday morning, James had not responded.
On Saturday, two deputies were ambushed and critically wounded when an unknown gunman fired multiple rounds into their vehicle as it was parked by the Metro station in Compton.
The female deputy, described as the 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy, was shot in the jaw and arms. The male deputy, 24, was shot in the forehead, arm and hand.
“Fortunately, they were spared any injury to a vital organ that would have jeopardized their life immediately,” Villanueva told KNX-AM.
The sheriff’s challenge sparked an intense reaction on Twitter.
Le Bron and other multimillionaire victims start being honest and stop hating this country or leave (and take a gangster with you). https://t.co/JgqNorPRjr
— Jayne Spensieri (@genomart) September 15, 2020
— Aubrey Huff (@aubrey_huff) September 15, 2020
Awaiting the response from @KingJames to @LASDHQ request to pitch in money for a reward that leads to the arrest of the coward who shot two Sheriff's sitting in their squad car in LA. These same Sheriffs would be first to respond if LeBron needed help. Balls in ur court, Bron… pic.twitter.com/7dxqHNfngD
— Rob (@RRuiz1689) September 15, 2020
James lashed out at law enforcement last month after police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake, who ignored their commands and entered a vehicle where a knife was found.
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!!” he said on Twitter. “Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted.
“This s— is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”