DOWNEY, Calif. (AP/KABC) — A police officer in the city of Downey was found shot to death in the parking lot of police headquarters and a hunt is on for at least one suspect, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said Thursday.
The police officer, identified as Ricardo “Ricky” Galvez, was found dead Wednesday night near a patrol car at the police station.
Lt. John Corina told KABC that at least two suspects walked up to the police officer as he sat in the driver’s seat of his own vehicle and opened fire. A fellow Downey police officer heard the gunshots and chased the suspects to a neighboring city, where the suspects bailed on foot.
“As luck would have it, a Downey police officer in his patrol vehicle heard the shooting, went in pursuit of the suspects, chased them into the city of Montebello, and that’s where they bailed out of the car,” Corina said.
Corina said it appears that this was a targeted attack.
Galvez had been with the Downey Police Department for five years and had served as a U.S. Marine for two tours, Downey police Chief Carl Charles said. Charles described Galvez as “a tremendous young man who loved serving the residents of Downey.
“His smile was infectious and his professionalism was always on display,” Charles said.
A large perimeter was set up where the suspects fled on foot from police. SWAT officers swept neighborhoods early Thursday.
Resident Victor Bocanegra said police knocked on his door shortly after 2 a.m. and escorted his family out to the street.
“They’ve evacuated some buildings and some townhomes,” Bocanegra told KABC-TV. “My family’s scared.”
Bocanegra said he saw police put at least two people into patrol cars and drive away.
The parking lot at the Downey Police Department was cordoned off by investigators.
Downey is a city of about 110,000 residents 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.