800 block of Hazard

Approximate location where the deputy was wounded.

East Los Angeles  -- The shooting of an off-duty deputy in the City Terrace area of East LA may have been motivated by a dispute at a nearby birthday party, sheriff's investigators said today.

The shooting occurred about 2:25 a.m. Sunday as the deputy drove his vehicle in the 800 block of North Hazard Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

A man about 20 years old fired at the deputy while he was seated in his vehicle, then ran off, the sheriff's department reported.

CBS LA reported that the deputy was struck in the lower body. The deputy returned fire. CBS said it was unknown whether the suspect was hit, but that several vehicles nearby were shot at and damaged.

The deputy drove himself to a hospital, where he was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Authorities said there were two other people in the deputy's vehicle, and they were not injured.

"Detectives are investigating reports that the suspect's assault was motivated by an earlier verbal altercation at a nearby birthday party between the suspect and one of the occupants of the off-duty deputy's vehicle," the sheriff's department said in a statement on Wednesday.

No physical description of the suspect was released, but investigators said he was wearing a red sweatshirt and black shorts.

Sheriff's Homicide Bureau detectives urged anyone with information regarding the shooting to call them at 323-890-5500.

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