LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California police officer was shot to death in his own car as he was getting off work in what investigators said Thursday was a botched robbery attempt by two young men and a teenager who were arrested within hours.
Downey police Officer Ricardo “Ricky” Galvez, 29, was in plainclothes in the driver’s seat of his car at the end of his shift when two men ran up and opened fire late Wednesday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said.
The five-year department veteran, also a Marine, died in the car.
Corina said the attackers — two men in their 20s and a 17-year-old — were out looking for someone to rob when they spotted Galvez sitting in his car after finishing work. Galvez was shot seconds later.
“They were attempting to rob Officer Galvez not realizing he was a police officer,” Corina said. “I don’t even think he saw these guys coming up on him.”
Another officer heard the gunshots and pursued the attackers as they fled into the neighboring city of Montebello. Investigators said they arrested the getaway driver and other people were detained after SWAT officers swept surrounding neighborhoods.
Police also said they had recovered a gun they suspect was used to kill Galvez.
The three suspects were all booked on a charge of murder and expected to appear in court on Monday, Corina said. Prosecutors will decide later whether to charge the 17-year-old as an adult.
A young woman who identified herself as the sister of one of the 17-year-old suspects cried and yelled outside a news conference announcing the arrests that her brother didn’t do it.
She was unavailable for questions after investigators took her inside to interview her.
Detectives knew quickly that Galvez had been shot in a deliberate, targeted attack.