The slain officers were 27-year-old Leslie Zerebny and 35-year Palm Springs Police Department veteran Jose “Gil” Vega.
Police arrested known gang member John Felix in the killing of two Palm Springs police officers Saturday afternoon.
Felix, 26, was captured alive around 12:50 a.m. Sunday morning after a standoff with police lasting 12 hours, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. He is accused of two counts of murder of a peace officer.
Felix was previously sentenced to four years in prison for a 2009 attempted murder plot in which he confessed to assault with a firearm. He was also arrested in 2013 for fighting with police on the same doorstep where Saturday’s shooting occurred.
“Today Palm Springs lost two brave officers,” Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes said at a news conference, his voice shaking with emotion. “I am awake in a nightmare right now.”
Vega was a 35-year veteran who was due to retire in December and had chosen to work overtime on Saturday, Reyes said. Zerebny, 27, had just given birth to a baby girl four months ago. She had been with the department for a year and a half.
Reyes said the wounded officer was alert and doing well.
Four officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at 12:18 p.m. and were at the door of a house when the shooting began.
“It was a simple family disturbance and he elected to open fire on a few of the guardians of our city,” Reyes said.
“They were out there every day with boots on the ground for our community,” he added. “They gave it all for you.”