53-year-old Keith Boyer was fatally injured while he and another officer responded to a traffic incident on Monday that resulted in the pair coming upon a homicide suspect. The altercation led to a shootout when the 26-year-old suspect opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun.
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper issued a tearful statement, saying, "He was the best of the best," and adding, "This is an unbelievably senseless tragedy."
The other officer injured in the incident, Patrick Hazell, is currently in stable condition at UC Irvine Medical Center.
According to PEOPLE, the shooter rear-ended a car and was attempting to get others to assist him in moving his car off the road. Two officers approached the suspect to aid the incident, and when the officers recognized the suspect's gang tattoos, decided to search him for weapons. The man responded to the inquiry by opening fire at the officers.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. John Corina described the situation, revealing, "He started firing at the officers and they returned fire." He continued, "We are still looking into that, why he just opened fire."
The suspect's name hasn't been released to the public, but authorities say he's a Los Angeles gang member who had recently been released on parole. The suspect was also injured in the incident but is expected to live.
The car that the suspect was driving was reported to have been stolen, and, in addition to shooting the officers, had shot his 46-year-old cousin, Roy Torres, only hours before the altercation with the police.0comments
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