PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A 35-year-veteran of the Palm Springs, California, police force and another officer, a new mother, were shot and killed Saturday while responding to a family disturbance call.
A third officer was wounded and is being treated at a local hospital, Police Chief Bryan Reyes said.
The suspect has not been captured, Reyes said, but police have surrounded a house and “they’re going to treat the house as if he’s still in it.”
Officers went to a residence after a woman called to say her adult son was causing a disturbance, Reyes said. The suspect refused to open the front door and threatened to shoot the officers, Reyes said.
Ten minutes after officers arrived, a call for emergency medical service went out, the chief said.
“The officers, from what I understand, were at the front (door) trying to negotiate with the suspect to just comply,” Reyes said. “It was a simple family disturbance and he elected to open fire on … guardians of this city.”
Killed were Jose Gilbert Vega and Lesley Zerebny.
Vega was due to retire in September and was working an overtime shift on Saturday, Reyes said.
Zerebny, 27, was the mother of a 4-month-old child and had recently returned to duty from maternity leave, Reyes said. She had worked about a year and a half with the department.
The wounded officer’s name and condition was not released but Reyes said the officer was alert and providing information to investigators.
“Today Palm Springs lost two brave officers. They go out every day and put their boots on the ground for everybody in this community. They gave it all for you,” the chief added.
No motive was provided.
Georgie Eden told the Los Angeles Times she was outside her Palm Springs home with her husband doing yard work when she heard a sound that she later learned was a volley of gunshots.
Her husband said they needed to get in the house, Eden said. The shooting went on for another 10 to 15 minutes, she told the Times.
KMIR reported the shooting happened around 1 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) near the area of Cypress and Del Lago Road.
This is the latest shooting of multiple police officers in the United States.
On July 17, three officers were killed and three wounded by a gunman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. About a week earlier, a gunman killed five officers and wounded seven in Dallas.
Palm Springs, a city of about 45,000 residents, is 100 miles east of Los Angeles.