2 police officers are shot and killed in Palm Springs, Calif.
- Author: Larry Hoffman Oct 23, 2016,
Oct 23, 2016, 15:26
The suspected shooter accused of killing two Palm Springs officers and injuring another was identified early Sunday, the Riverside County Sheriff said. Palm Springs police officers trying to resolve a family dispute were shot to death Saturday when a man they had been speaking calmly with suddenly pulled out a gun and opened fire on them, the city's police chief told reporters.
Dozens of police rushed to the scene in a residential neighborhood of Palm Springs, a normally placid resort community about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
"[She] elected to come back from to the department early to help out", said Reyes of Zerebny, who had given birth four months ago. Mike worked with the Palm Springs police for 30 years and retired in 2014.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which took over the case, said on Sunday that a suspect, John Felix, 26, of Palm Springs, had been arrested. He will be charged Tuesday with murder and could face the death penalty. Police had responded to a call from a woman who said her adult son was causing a disturbance, according to police.
Zerebny, 27, was the mother of a 4-month-old daughter and had recently returned to duty from maternity leave, Reyes said.
A third officer was wounded in the afternoon shooting, Police Chief Bryan Reyes told a news conference.
Officers Jose "Gil" Gilbert Vega, a 35-year police veteran, and Lesley Zerebny, who'd been on the force less than two years, were killed.
Felix emerged from the home 12 hours after the shooting, when police fired a chemical agent into the residence where he was holed up.
"This is family", Muela said, looking at the Palm Springs police building.
It was a law enforcement marriage: Zerebny's husband is a Riverside County sheriff's deputy.
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department made the announcement early Sunday morning.
The Desert Sun described Felix as a "known gang member" who spent four years in prison for a 2009 attempted-murder plot.
Jose Vega, Gil Vega's older brother and a volunteer with La Quinta's Citizens on Patrol program, said his brother was a dedicated to his job, his fellow officers and the community he served.
The shooting occurred just after noon at 2700 Cypress Road, according to the Palm Springs Police Department.
A still-shaken police chief, Bryan Reyes, told a midday news conference that a third officer who was shot Saturday was alert, talking with investigators and may be released from a hospital soon. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital before being booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, Calif.
Those attending the vigil expressed shock and dismay that police shootings like Saturday's could happen in Palm Springs and urged the community to use the tragedy to seek cohesion.
Police led a procession on Saturday night escorting the bodies of the slain officers to the Coroner's Office in Indio. "I will tell you that I consider a brutal murder of a police officer to be a very heinous crime, so I'll leave it at that", Hestrin said.
Felix immediately opened fire through a closed door as Palm Springs officers approached. Among the group were police officers and firefighters.
Photo Palm Springs officers consoled one another in Palm Springs, California on Saturday.
James Allwhite said he left a card at the police memorial.
"That 35-year veteran was the first one walking up that sidewalk, to respond for a call for service", Vegas said today, his voice cracking.
Onlookers gathered at the Interstate 10 overpass as squad cars with flashing lights passed underneath them.