LOS ANGELES (AP) — A gang member who was recently freed from jail killed his cousin and stole his car Monday then shot and killed a California police officer and wounded his partner before being wounded himself, authorities said.
Whittier Officer Keith Lane Boyer died and Officer Patrick Hazel was wounded when they answered a report of a traffic accident in the eastern Los Angeles County suburb.
A motorist pointed out the location of the car that had rear-ended his vehicle, and the officers approached the driver.
"When they get him out of the car, they go to pat him down for weapons, they can see he's got tattoos all over his face and all over his neck," county sheriff's Lt. John Corina said.
The man then pulled a semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and opened fire at the officers, who were wearing bulletproof vests and shot back, Corina said.
"They walked up on the vehicle believing the motorist was in need of medical help and then they ended up in a gunfight for their lives," Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper wept as he described Boyer as a friend of more than 25 years.
"All of us have been grieving," the chief said. "And I didn't think I had any tears left."
The suspect, a 26-year-old gang member, had a history of serious crimes and had been granted early release from Los Angeles County jail about a week ago, Corina said. He didn't know the nature of his offense.
His name wasn't immediately released.
Earlier Monday, he shot and killed his cousin in East Los Angeles and took his car, which later rear-ended another car in the neighboring city of Whittier, Corina said.
He got out and asked those he had hit to help push his stolen car from the intersection.
Boyer and Hazel didn't know any of those details when they answered the report of a car accident, Corina said.
Boyer was pronounced dead at a hospital. Hazel, a three-year veteran, and the suspect were hospitalized in stable condition and were expected to live.
After the shooting, a long line of police cars escorted the slain officer's body from a hospital in Irvine to the coroner's office. Mourners placed candles and flowers outside police headquarters.
Boyer joined the force as a dispatcher in 1989 and became a full-time officer in 1990. A divorced father who played the drums, he was "the best of the best" who was sought for advice by his colleagues and superiors, the chief said.
Boyer recently talked to the chief about retiring.
The Whittier Police Department has about 125 sworn officers who patrol Whittier and Santa Fe Springs.
The department has had two other officers killed in the line of duty — a detective in 1979 and a corporal in 1977.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
According to Scripps Ranch residents, for weeks they've been waking up to deep scrapes and scratches that someone keyed in their vehicles, and on Sunday an arrest was made in connection with the incidents.
One person was killed and several others seriously injured in a head-on crash Sunday in Scripps Ranch.
A 71-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of stabbing her 31-year-old son at least four times with a kitchen knife, when an argument at their San Diego home Sunday escalated into a fight.
The San Diego Gulls will seek their team-record ninth consecutive victory Sunday when they face their rival, the Ontario Reign, at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
Some public facilities will be closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day and the Metropolitan Transit System will offer reduced service.
Just the thought of free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer joining the downtrodden, youthful San Diego Padres sent a morning jolt through the spring training clubhouse.
Cold weather, light rain, mountain snow and gusty winds are all in the cards for San Diego County, forecasters said Sunday.