Suspected gang member kills California police officer

Darin HammondFeb 22, 2017

Hundreds of mourners gathered outside the police headquarters in a candlelight vigil at night honoring Boyer, 53, who was killed in a gun battle that broke out as he investigated a traffic accident. Corina said he had an extensive rap sheet.

A procession was held from the University of California Irvine Medical Center to the Orange County Coroner's Office, where the officer's body was taken for further examination.

About 130 sworn officers make up the force of the Whittier Police Department.

Corina said witnesses identified the shooter as possibly the gunman involved in a murder earlier Monday involving a stolen vehicle the gunman ultimately crashed in Whittier.

The Whittier shootout began shortly after the unnamed suspect rear-ended some motorists near Colima and Mar Vista, disabling the vehicle he was driving, authorities said.

That driver had gotten out and asked those he had hit to help push his stolen vehicle from the intersection, investigators said.

The second officer and the male suspect were in stable condition.

When officers approached the suspect, he was sitting in his vehicle.

The officers had responded to a traffic accident in Whittier when they determined that one of the cars was registered as stolen.

Authorities said the suspect rear-ended two vehicles stopped at the intersection while he was driving the auto he stole from Torres hours earlier.

Detectives recovered a semi-automatic handgun at the scene.

When the officers arrived, they were told by the victims that the driver who had struck them was around the corner.

"This is a senseless tragedy that did not need to happen", Piper said.

Mejia had rear-ended another auto and was seated in his own vehicle when he opened fire on the officers, according to investigators.

"All of us have been grieving", the chief said. "I didn't think I had any more tears left to cry but obviously I do".

Whittier Police Department Officer Keith Boyer is shown in a photo he posted to his Facebook page on November 27, 2013.

His name has not been released, with authorities describing him only as a "known gang member" who was recently paroled on early release. She said he had a criminal history that dated back to when he was a child. Piper said the alleged gunman had been in police custody at some earlier point but was released early under new California laws aimed at reducing incarcerations. "Enough is enough. Passing these propositions, you're creating these laws that is raising crime".

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