California officer killed, another injured following early morning shootout

The suspected gunman in a fatal police shooting is taken away in an ambulance on February 20, 2017.

The officers answered the report of a auto accident at about 8:30 a.m. and a driver pointed them to the vehicle which had rear-ended his auto, police said. That homicide and vehicle theft occurred about 5:30 a.m. Monday at a home in the 1400 block of Volney Drive in the East Los Angeles/City Terrace area, according to Deputy Kimberly Alexander of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.

Officer Keith Wayne Boyer, 53, was killed about 8 a.m. Monday while responding to a traffic crash near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street. Boyer, who served the force since 1990, was pronounced dead.

Authorities say it started when the suspect crashed a stolen vehicle into two other vehicles on Monday morning.

That driver had gotten out and asked those he had hit to help push his stolen auto from the intersection, investigators said. When police got there, they spoke first with the occupants of the vehicle that was rear-ended before approaching the gunman's auto.

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The officers then went around the corner and contacted driver.

"When they get him out of the auto, they go to pat him down for weapons, they can see he's got tattoos all over his face and all over his neck", Corina said at a news conference. Police didn't immediately name the suspect.

Boyer was shot and killed.

When the three Whittier officers arrived on scene and approached the suspect, he pulled a gun from his waistband and began to shoot at close range.

It was unclear if recent legislation and voter-approved measures that reduced sentences for some offenders, made other convicts eligible for early release and funneled some defendants into county jails instead of state prison played a role in any of Mejia's releases from custody. At this time, he remains hospitalized in an intensive care unit. Officer Patrick Hazel was also shot in the gunfight, as was the gunman.

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Torres was the man's cousin, according to the victim's family members.

"He was a loving person, he's give you the shirt off his back if you needed it", said the woman, who identified herself as Tiffany. His motive for the shooting is not yet clear.

Although specifics were not released about the suspect's criminal history, CNN reported that he had been released after serving just 11 days for an armed robbery. My highest, the top six calls for service are arrests that we have, rather, are resisting arrests on officers. And he should never have been left out.

"Keith was very humble; he was always smiling, positive, energetic and intelligent", Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper said. "Right now, we are putting people on the streets who are not ready to be on the streets". "This is a senseless, senseless tragedy that did not need to be".

There had been four firearms-related law enforcement deaths this year through Monday, down from nine in the same period in 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks on-duty fatalities.

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