The shooting took place at a motel in El Monte, a city in Los Angeles County, where both officers and the suspect accused of killing them were shot dead. The officers, one in his first year on the job and another with more than 20 years of experience, had arrived at the scene responding to a domestic violence call, according to city officials.
“As our officers do on a daily basis, they were acting as the first line of defense for our community members when they were essentially ambushed while trying to keep a family safe,” El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said.
The nature of the domestic violence call appeared to be a reported stabbing, and police said the two policemen “immediately took gunfire” after they arrived at the motel. The identity of the suspect has not yet been released.
According to authorities, the gun battle started in a motel room, then the suspect fled to the parking lot where more gunfire was exchanged.
“I’ve heard that the only way to take the sting out of death is to take the love out of life. Believe me, they were loved. These two men were loved. They were good men,” El Monte interim police chief Ben Lowry said.
He added the slain officers were heroes.
“They paid the ultimate sacrifice serving their community trying to help somebody,” Lowry said. “They do what hundreds of thousands of men and women do every day across the United States. They took an oath to protect people and to serve them. These two heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice. They were murdered by a coward.”
El Monte, the city police department, and the El Monte Police Officer Association released a joint statement calling the killing of the officers a “senseless act.”
“There are no words to describe our grief and devastation by this senseless act as we learned about the passing of two of our police officers. It weighs heavy on our hearts and we are sending our support to their families,” the statement said. “We would also like to thank the El Monte community and our surrounding government agencies for the outpouring support we have received in the last few hours.”
According to CBS Los Angeles, “dozens” of police cars escorted the vehicles carrying the bodies of the slain officers to the coroner’s office from the hospital they had been transported to after the shooting.
Dozens of police cars in El Monte traveled together to County USC Hospital to join in the procession to escort the two fallen officers to the Coroner's Office https://t.co/rpvioKcogS pic.twitter.com/8UgzUsaVgx
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) June 15, 2022