VAN NUYS (CNS) – A Van Nuys man who allegedly shot a California Highway Patrol officer multiple times during an altercation at a traffic stop in Studio City pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempted murder of a peace officer.
Pejhmaun Iraj Khosroabadi, 33, remains behind bars while awaiting his next court appearance July 25 in Van Nuys.
The shooting occurred just before 7:55 p.m. June 13 in the 4500 block of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, one block south of the Ventura (101) Freeway, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The 27-year-old officer, who has less than one year of service with the CHP, was seriously injured but is expected to recover, the agency said shortly after the shooting.
“During the altercation, the suspect produced a firearm and fired several rounds, striking our officer multiple times,” CHP Officer Wes Haver of the agency’s West Valley Area office told City News Service. “The suspect fled the scene.”
Police searched the area for a white Ford Fusion with Oregon plates in connection with the shooting, KCAL9 reported. Police later found a Fusion outside the apartment complex that matched the description.
Khosroabadi was arrested shortly before 9 a.m. the next day, Haver said.
Piper, a 4-year-old bloodhound with the LAPD’s K-9 unit, tracked Khosroabadi to a tent in a homeless encampment at Gloria Avenue and Cantlay Street where he had been hiding, according to reports from the scene. The dog had tracked the scent from a Haskell Avenue apartment building where a standoff involving SWAT officers occurred early the morning after the shooting.
Khosroabadi was charged June 16, with the criminal complaint alleging that he used a firearm causing great bodily injury.
In a statement announcing the filing of the case, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said, “We cannot tolerate violence against any member of our community, especially the courageous people who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. As a former police officer, I know the dangers of police work and the many sacrifices made by law enforcement officers and their families.”
The county’s top prosecutor — who is facing a recall effort — said he had authorized the filing of the attempted murder charge with a gun enhancement that could result in a 40-year-to-life sentence for Khosroabadi if he is convicted as charged.
Gascón said he believed the filing was “appropriate” for the man accused in “the horrific shooting of a CHP officer.”
Khosroabadi’s family said he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who fought in Afghanistan and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
” When he came back he was so traumatized,” said Shamaya Shayesteh, a cousin of Khosroabadi.
His brother, Robert Thompson-Khosroabadi, said Khosroabadi recently lost two members of his unit to suicide and the family has been trying to get him psychological counseling for months.
Five members of his unit were killed in action, which deeply affected him, family members said.