(WHITTIER, Calif.) — A veteran officer was killed and another injured after a parolee opened fire on them after they responded to a traffic incident Sunday in Whittier, California, police officials said.
The officers responded to a reported incident — in which a driver, who police said was driving a stolen car, rear-ended multiple other vehicles — around 8 a.m.
Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, who was not named, moved his car around the corner after the collisions.
When officers arrived on the scene, the other drivers, who had refused to give the suspect a ride, indicated that he had moved his car.
The officers, who did not know at the time that the car was stolen, made contact the suspect and went to pat him down, and he pulled out a gun and opened fire, police said.
“When they got the call, it was just a traffic accident, and they didn’t know what they had,” Corina told reporters. “When they went to contact him, that’s when the shooting happened.”
Corina said the suspect was 26, a “known gang member” and was armed with a semiautomatic handgun. He was released from jail a week ago.
The officers returned fire, wounding him.
The suspect was released on parole two weeks ago and has made statements to police.
The two officers and the suspect were hospitalized after the shooting, and one officer, Keith Wayne Boyer, died at the hospital. The surviving officer, Patrick Hazel, and the suspect are in stable condition, according to Corina.
Boyer became an officer with the Whittier Police Department in 1990 and was remembered as positive and energetic, according to the department’s chief, Jeff Piper.
He was from the area and had grown children, Piper said.
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