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The Latest: Murder charges pending in police officer deaths

A photo of Palm Springs police officer Lesley Zerebny is placed at a memorial for her and officer Jose "Gil" Gilbert Vega in front of the police station in Palm Springs, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Zerebny, who had just returned to the police force after maternity leave, and Vega, who was two months short of retirement, were fatally shot over the weekend. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin)
October 11, 2016 - 6:22 PM

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Latest on the shooting death of two police officers in Palm Springs (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

Riverside County prosecutors plan to file murder charges Wednesday against the man suspected of shooting two Palm Springs police officers.

The district attorney's office has scheduled a news conference to announce the charges against 26-year-old John Hernandez Felix.

Authorities say Felix fired an assault rifle through the screen door of his family's home Saturday, gunning down officers Jose Vega and Lesley Zerebny as they answered a domestic disturbance call.

Police say a memorial service for the slain officers will be held next Tuesday.

Felix already served time in connection with a 2009 gang shooting. He was charged with attempted murder, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault with a gun.

He served 18 months of a four-year sentence and was paroled in 2011.


11:34 a.m.

Sheriff's authorities say a Palm Springs man fired an assault rifle at two police officers who were killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call at his family's home Saturday.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Tuesday that police arriving at the home were told by a relative that John Felix had an unknown weapon.

The statement says officers spoke with Felix through a metal screen door and he fired at them without warning.

The officers were wearing ballistic vests as required while in uniform and on duty.

The statement says Felix cannot legally possess firearms because of a prior conviction.

Palm Springs officers Jose "Gil" Gilbert Vega and Lesley Zerebny were killed by the gunfire.

Felix was arrested, and authorities say he will be charged with murder.


1:13 am

A domestic violence call that ended the lives of two California police officers last weekend was the kind of report that many authorities say they hate and fear the most.

For no matter how much training and experience officers receive, they often have little idea what awaits them when they approach the scene of such a disturbance.

"You never know all the facts until you get there. And you never know what's on the other side of that door," said Erroll Southers, a former police officer and FBI special agent who is currently director of the Homegrown Violent Studies Program at the University of Southern California.

Police say Palm Springs Officers Jose "Gil" Gilbert Vega and Lesley Zerebny had just asked John Felix to come out of his family's home Saturday when he opened fire through the closed front door.

A neighbourhood home surveillance system recorded the sound of dozens of gunshots echoing through the ordinarily quiet neighbourhood. Its camera did not show the officers.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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