‘Murdered by a coward’: Two police officers shot to death in ambush at a California motel

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EL MONTE, CA – Two El Monte police officers were shot and killed Tuesday night on a domestic disturbance call to a motel and now the community and law enforcement across California are in mourning.

The officers responded to a possible stabbing at the Siesta Inn near Garvey and Central avenues just before 5 p.m. Tuesday and were immediately confronted with a man who began firing at them inside a motel room, according to Deputy David Yoo, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

 

The Sheriff’s Department was assisting El Monte Police with the investigation.

The suspect fled the room to the parking lot, where more gunfire was exchanged. The suspect was hit by gunfire and died at the scene, detectives said. A handgun thought to be the suspect’s was recovered.

Authorities confirmed the male suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. A body covered by a sheet could be seen in the parking lot.

The two officers were rushed to LA County-USC Medical Center, where they died from their injuries.

Officials said the two officers had been ambushed. The Sheriff’s Department later confirmed that the call to the motel was for “a welfare check of a possible female stabbed at the location.”

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona held a press conference Tuesday night to discuss the shooting. Ancona said:

“They were acting as a first line of defense for our community members when they were essentially ambushed while trying to keep a family safe.” 

 

Officials said a woman involved in the call about a possible stabbing was the suspect’s girlfriend and is being interviewed by detectives. She was not injured in the incident.

Neither the officers have been identified. Authorities did say that one of the officers had more than two decades of experience on the force while the second officer had less than a year on the job.

Information on the suspect’s identity was not immediately available.

A joint statement was released Tuesday night by the city of El Monte, the El Monte Police Department and the El Monte Police Officers Association. It said:

“There are no words to describe our grief and devastation by this senseless act as we learned about the passing of two of our police officers. It weighs heavy on our hearts and we are sending our support to their families. We would also like to thank the El Monte community and our surrounding government agencies for the outpouring support we have received in the last few hours.”

 

El Monte interim Police Chief Ben Lowry called the officers heroes. He spoke outside the hospital:

“These two men were loved. They were good men. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving their community trying to help somebody.”

He said somberly:
“Today, they were murdered by a coward and we are grieving and that hurts.”

A procession of police vehicles with lights on began shortly after 11 p.m. as officers with the El Monte Police Department escorted the officers’ bodies from the hospital to the L.A. County Coroner’s office.

Family members of the officers were at the medical center where the officers were taken after the shooting. Onlookers said some were visibly distraught. A sheriff’s official with a folded American flag or flags arrived, according to reports.

Former longtime El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero, who served from 2009 to 2020, offered his condolences. He stated:

“I’m completely devastated to learn about the shooting of two of El Monte’s Police officers.  Details are still being investigated and reported.

“During my tenure as mayor, I had the opportunity to get to know many of them.  I broke bread with them, celebrated their heroic feats and watched as many safely made it to their end of watch.  Please keep these officers in your prayers.”

 

Tributes for the fallen officers have been posted on social media by other law enforcement agencies and supporters.

The targeting of police officers continues at a record pace and the deadly El Monte shooting came just one day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot and critically wounded during a traffic stop in Studio City.

The 27-year-old officer was shot several times. He was in critical but stable condition at a hospital and was expected to recover, the CHP said. The suspect, Pejhmaun Iraj Khosroabadi, a 33-year-old military veteran, was found by police Tuesday morning in a tent at a homeless encampment in Van Nuys.

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War on police continues: Officer, 41, gunned down in Starbucks parking lot – second cop murdered in the area in past week

March 26, 2022

EVERETT, WA – The war on police took a deadly turn Friday when an Everett, Washington police officer was gunned down in the parking lot of a Starbucks in the area of Everett Community College, Herald.net reports.

This is the second officer murdered in this area in just the past nine days since March 16

Police sources say the suspect, who initially fled, was apprehended a short time later.

Ironically, the killing happened on the same day that mourners were paying their final respects to a murdered Pierce County sheriff’s deputy, Deputy Dominique “Dom” Calata, 35, who was shot and killed last week during a SWAT operation, KOMO reported.

According to a witness George LaBauve who lives nearby, he heard a number of gunshots at around 2:15 p.m. When he looked outside, he saw a uniformed police officer lying on the ground in the Starbucks parking lot. The business is located across the street from the college.

He saw the shooter tuck a gun, then get in a blue Mini Cooper and fled the area, running the mortally wounded officer over while tearing off the back bumper of the car in the process, LaBauve recalled. He said the vehicle left at a high rate of speed.

The outlet reported that sheriff’s deputies from the Snohomish County Sheriffs Office placed a yellow sheet over the deceased officer’s body at approximately 2:30 p.m.

At about the same time police said, the suspect was involved in a multi-vehicle crash involving a white van and another vehicle about 2.5 miles south of the shooting. The impact caused the van to roll onto its side, while the other two vehicles—though sustaining significant damage—had damage to their front ends.

According to Everett police officer Kerby Duncan, police took the suspect, who has not been identified, into custody.

Investigators from the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team responded to both the scene of the shooting as well as the accident scene. That team is a group of detectives who investigate major events in the area.

Due to the seriousness of the event, the community college went into a brief lockdown. In addition, WSU Everett was also evacuated and closed, police said.

On Friday evening, authorities released the identity of the murdered police officer, KOMO reported. He was identified as 41-year-old Officer Dan Rocha, who has been with the department since 2017. As of 5:20 p.m. PDT Friday, the identity of the suspect had not been released.

In a social media post, the Everett Police Department wrote the following:

“He served the City of Everett as a patrol officer in North Everett for most of his career and was well respected by both the community and his fellow officers. His loss will forever leave a void in our agency and our community.”

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers released the following statement:

“Our hearts ache for the family, friends, and colleagues of the fallen officer,” it read.

“On behalf of Snohomish County, we offer our deepest condolences to the entire community shaken by this loss of life, and those police officers who will be out keeping our community safe, even under the shadow of this tragedy. We will provide any support the City of Everett needs and call on everyone to take a moment to honor the people who are here to serve and protect.”

The city of Everett is located about 29 miles north of Seattle along Puget Sound.

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