A Compton Unified School District police officer, shot from ambush last week, has died of complications resulting from surgery, officials said. The victim, Roosevelt Ferrell, 51, of Inglewood, is believed to be the first school district police officer in California to die in the line of duty.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested shortly after the March 9 shooting on the Chester Adult School campus, when he was spotted fleeing the scene by an observer in a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department helicopter. Two other youths escaped and are still being sought.
Sheriff’s Deputy Lynda Edmonds said Ferrell was on routine foot patrol of the adult school campus shortly after 5 p.m. when he spotted three youths trespassing on the grounds.
Edmonds said that 40 minutes after Ferrell had ordered the three to leave campus, the officer was shot from ambush, falling with a leg wound.
The wounded officer was taken to Dominguez Medical Center, where he died Monday of complications arising from surgery on the wounded leg, hospital spokeswoman Karen Oppliger said.
Ferrell, employed by the school district as a watchman in 1978 and a sworn peace officer since 1980, was married and the father of four.
Senior Officer Ken Crawford characterized his slain colleague as “an exemplary officer who never shirked his duty.” Crawford said that Ferrell’s death came as a shock to the 45 members of the district police force.
Ferrell, a native of Monticello, Arkansas, was the sixth of 11 children born to the late Frank and Alberta Ferrell. He attended schools in Monticello and El Camino College in California. He was a member of the United States Army. He was a loyal and active member of the Tamarind Avenue Seventh-Day Adventists Church.
Ferrell is survived by his wife, Ruthell; daughters, Hazel F. Lewis and Larraine Ferrell; sons, Michael and Christopher Ferrell; three grandchildren; seven sisters and three brothers; as well as a host of relatives and friends.