Two El Monte police officers were killed and mortally wounded in a shootout with a suspect on Tuesday evening in El Monte, a tragedy said to have left the city more than heartbroken.
Dozens of police cars in El Monte traveled to County USC Hospital to join a procession to carry two fallen officers to the coroner’s office https://t.co/rpvioKcogS pic.twitter.com/8UgzUsaVgx
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) June 15, 2022
According to Deputy David Yu, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the two officers were called to the intersection of Garvey and Central Avenues, where officers were injured in a shootout after 5 p.m. The Sheriff’s Department was assisting El Monte Police with the investigation at 10327 Garvey Avenue.
The city of El Monte confirmed in a statement Tuesday night that both officers had died. Their names were not immediately made public.
“There are no words to describe our grief and devastation by this senseless act as we learned of the passing of our two police officers. It is heavy on our hearts and we are sending our support to their families. A statement from the city, the police department and the El Monte Police Officers Association said that we would also like to thank the El Monte community and our surrounding government agencies for the support they have received over the past few hours.
“These two men were loved. They were good men,” Acting El Monte Police Chief Captain Ben Lowry said during a news conference late Tuesday at LAC+USC Medical Center, where officers were taken. He paid the last sacrifice. He was murdered by a coward.”
“Heartbroken doesn’t begin to express the loss we feel,” Mayor Jessica Ancona said.
“As our officers do on a daily basis, they were acting as the first line of defense for members of our community when they were essentially ambushed trying to keep a family safe,” Ancona said.
One officer was at least a 22-year veteran, the other less than a year on the force, Lowry said.
Yu said the suspect was “down” at the scene.
I am in El Monte where there was a shootout earlier, in which two officers and a suspect were injured. pic.twitter.com/CDdBMubQeP
— Quinn Wilson (@qrwriter) June 15, 2022
A dead body covered with a sheet can be seen at the scene. Officials later confirmed that the suspect was pronounced dead on the spot. The identity of the suspect was not immediately available.
Police and sheriff’s staff cordoned off the shooting area and appear to be searching for a nearby building, possibly a motel.
“The El Monte Police Department responded to a possible stabbing at the Siesta Inn and officers opened fire immediately,” the city statement said.
The Sheriff’s Department later reported that the motel had been called regarding a “welfare check of a potential woman who was stabbed on location”.
Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Andrew Meyer said the investigation, in its early stages, saw officers confront the suspect at a motel where an officer had shot; And then another cop opened fire in the parking lot. It was not immediately known when and where the officers were killed.
Victims of the incident were called officers, a woman believed to be the suspect’s girlfriend, was being interviewed. He was not stabbed.
The Sheriff’s Department said a firearm was recovered from the scene.
The officers’ family members were at the medical center where the officers were taken after the shooting. Viewers said some were clearly distraught. A sheriff’s officer also arrived with a folded American flag or flag.
Sheriff Villanueva also addressed the media in Spanish. pic.twitter.com/LiYIopqvkO
— Quinn Wilson (@qrwriter) June 15, 2022
Arthur Kingsbury, a life-long resident of the area, was driving west on Garvey Avenue on his way home from work when he said he heard five gunshots. He said that initially without a phase, he continued to drive until he heard 10 more gunshots.
“I drove my car into the parking lot and got out of my car when I saw a man without a shirt, lifeless on the ground,” he said.
He said Kingsbury pulled out a pistol from the suspect.
Alex Garcia, a 20-year-old resident of South El Monte, said he saw what he thought was the end of a search before shooting began. He said incidents of this magnitude are not common to the community.
“It doesn’t happen, people are shot at the police,” Garcia said.
“The community has changed a lot (since I’ve been here); It has gotten very cold,” he said.
“I am utterly devastated to learn of the shooting of two police officers from El Monte. The details are still being investigated and reported. During my tenure as mayor, I have found them in them. I broke bread with them, celebrated their heroic feats and saw how many safely reached the end of their watch. Please keep these officers in your prayers,” said former El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero Said, who served from 2009 to 2020.
Tributes to the fallen officers were posted on social media by other law enforcement agencies; and others.
We are absolutely heartbroken. Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters at El Monte PD, as they mourn the loss of two of their officers. May they rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/eb1yRvnqag
— Pomona PD (@PomonaPD) June 15, 2022
The shooting comes a day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot several times during a traffic stop in Studio City. The CHP officer remained hospitalized on Tuesday and a suspect was in custody.
City News Service contributed to this story.