Heavy police presence flooded the Palm Springs neighborhood where the shooting occurred as officers attempted to bring in the suspected shooter. (Photo: Sam Mircovich/Reuters)
Three cops were shot, two fatally, in Palm Springs, California on Saturday, prompting a massive response from law enforcement.
The incident unfolded around 11 a.m. near the corner of Racquet Club Road and Sunrise Way when three officers responded to a disturbance call. The cops were immediately fired on by known gang member John Felix through the closed door of the house he was occupying.
Felix then barricaded himself in the home where a several-hour standoff ensued. Just after midnight on Sunday, SWAT members descended on the house, capturing Felix alive. He was booked into Riverside Jail early Sunday morning.
According to neighbor Frances Serrano, Felix was out for blood, telling his father he wanted to kill cops. The father spoke to Serrano explaining Felix was in possession of a gun he intended to use to harm police.
“He came over and asked for help,” Serrano told The Desert Sun.
Serrano alerted authorities, but soon heard gunfire.
Two cops, identified as Lesley Zerenby and Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega, died as a result of injuries sustained in the gunfight. The wounded officer remains hospitalized but is in stable condition.
Speaking at a press conference late Saturday evening, Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes told reporters in an emotional statement that the department is shaken up over the loss of their fallen comrades.
“Today Palm Springs lost two brave officers,” Reyes said. “I am awake in a nightmare right now.”
Vega was a 35-year veteran on the force set to retire in December. He chose to work overtime on Saturday when the shooting occurred. Zerenby had been with the department just under two years and was the mother of a 4-month-old baby girl.
They are the first Palm Springs officers to die in the line of duty since 1962.
Heavy police presence flooded the Palm Springs neighborhood where the shooting occurred as officers attempted to bring in the suspected shooter. John Felix was eventually captured alive and taken into custody early Sunday morning.
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