A possible sniper is on the run after wounding a deputy in Southern California

Police are searching Thursday for whoever shot and wounded a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy from a distance, a day after the shooting happened.

Someone fired a gun at Deputy Angel Reinosa on Wednesday afternoon while he was walking to his personal car outside the sheriff’s station in Lancaster, about an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles, police said.

The bullet apparently came from a four-story apartment building across the street, and hit Reinosa in the chest, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said. Reinosa was wearing a bulletproof vest, which saved his life by deflecting the bullet into his shoulder, the mayor explained.

Reinosa, 21, was taken to hospital, where he was treated for a minor wound and released, sheriff’s Capt. Todd Weber said.

Parris described the shooter as a sniper. The building from which the gun is believed to have been fired is a government-subsidized facility that houses people with mental health problems, Parris said.

Law enforcement officers searched the apartment complex, but did not identify anyone they believe fired the shot. Nothing is known about the shooter, Weber said.

“As the mayor of Lancaster, I can’t begin to tell people how sorry I am that we now live in a city where this occurs,” Parris said. “It shakes the core of everything we have.”

A school within the shooter’s range was put on lockdown and students were evacuated, officials said.

The mayor applauded the sheriff’s department for its quick handling of the situation, saying it could have been much worse. “We cannot live in a society that this happens. It’s beyond comprehension to me that this occurred in our city,” he said.

Lancaster has a population of about 170,000.

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