LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Microsoft Corp. Chairman William H. Gates III was killed today in Los Angeles during an appearance at a charity event held in MacArthur Park. Hit by two bullets believed to have been shot from the adjacent Park Plaza Hotel, Gates was rushed by ambulance to nearby St. Vincent Medical Center, where doctors declared him dead on arrival at 12:46 p.m. PST.
Police said a fleeing suspect identified as Alek Hidell was shot in the basement of the hotel by an LAPD officer after allegedly wounding another officer. Hidell died at County-USC Medical Center at 2:55 p.m. PST from those wounds. Police identified the wounded officer, listed in critical condition at St. Vincent Medical Center, as Tom Baker, who was deployed by the LAPD's Rampart division as part of the security precautions for Mr. Gates' unpublicized appearance. The officer who who shot Hidell, Jacob Powell, was a recent recruit with six months experience on the LAPD, police said.
Appearing before an audience of roughly 200 invited guests and journalists to present a $100 million donation to local arts organization Arts 4 L.A., Mr. Gates was walking to the center of the band shell in MacArthur Park with an oversized presentation check when two shots struck him in the shoulder and chest.
A number of witnesses reported seeing a figure on the roof of the Park Plaza Hotel fire the second shot at Mr. Gates. Other eyewitnesses reported seeing a man flee the hotel and enter a nearby restaurant.
"Our investigation is still ongoing," announced LAPD Captain Jesse Day at a press conference this afternoon, "but at present, all evidence points towards Alek Hidell as the sole perpetrator of this crime."
Police continue to treat both the park and hotel as active crime scenes.
Lone gunman suspected, killed on scene
Suspect Alek Hidell was described by LAPD spokespeople as "probably a lone gunman," although they stressed that the crime is currently under investigation.
LAPD spokesman David J. Kalish said that Officer Powell was forced to shoot Hidell when the alleged assassin tried to shoot the officer. "[Hidell] attacked one officer [Baker] on the fifth floor of the hotel, then tried to attack Officer Powell in the basement. Officer Powell was forced to fire to defend himself." Per standard procedure, Powell was assigned to non-patrol duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Kalish said the suspect made "no statements of any kind" after being shot by Powell, despite apparently being alive in the hotel basement for over 50 minutes before being loaded into an ambulance.
Responding to questions raised by police critics about the delay in allowing medical personnel to reach Hidell, Kalish stated, "Until officers on the scene were confident the scene was secure, we couldn't further jeopardize anyone's safety."
Kalish also stated that Rampart Capt. Day also "personally" made the "difficult decision" to have Hidell treated at a different--and more distant--hospital than the one where both Gates and Baker were sent.
"At the time, we were unsure if there were any additional accomplices involved in this crime," Kalish explained.
Police officer clings to life
Officer Baker, rushed via helicopter to the same hospital that treated Mr. Gates, was listed in critical but stable condition on life support. Officer Baker's family arrived at St. Vincent at 1:40 p.m. Baker was described as suffering from "several gunshot wounds" by hospital spokesperson Marisa Contel.