A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a police officer near Los Angeles, prosecutors announced Friday.
Abel Diaz was one of three males suspected of confronting Downey Police Officer Ricardo Galvez behind the police station Wednesday, a botched robbery that authorities said ended when Galvez was shot and killed inside his car.
The three suspects got back into their car and took off, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. John Corina said during a press conference.
The names or identities of the two other men have not been released and were identified only as males, ages 18 and 21. The two were arrested at a house after investigators served search warrants.
"They just went up there and shot him," Corina said. "They did admit they were trying to rob him."
Diaz, who is being charged as an adult, is expected to appear in court Friday. Prosecutors will request he be held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Corina said Galvez was shot with a revolver, but declined to say how many times he was struck. He was in his personal vehicle inside a public city parking and not wearing a uniform.
Earlier reports said Galvez may have been targeted because he was an officer, but Corina said there was nothing to indicate the three males involved in his death knew he worked for the police department.
Los Angeles County Sheriff officials have since said the three males are suspected in other robberies in the area, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Another Downey police officer who was driving by heard the gunshots and chased the suspects' car to Montebello.
"We believe we may have one of the suspects," the LASD official said.
Another officer who checked the parking lot found Galvez's body inside his car. The revolver they believe was used to carry out the attack was recovered.
Galvez, a five-year veteran of the force, was a "tremendous young man who loved serving the residents of Downey," police chief Carl Charles said at the news conference. Galvez, a U.S. Marine who served on two tours of Operation Enduring Freedom, had an "infectious smile" and a "beautiful family," Charles said.
"This department is hurting," the chief said. "Words cannot express the love and respect we have for Ricky."
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
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