DOWNEY, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - Two men and a 16-year-old boy were arrested for the killing of a Downey police officer who was gunned down in a botched robbery as he sat in plain clothes in his personal vehicle in a police station parking lot, authorities said Thursday.
Officer Ricardo Galvez, 29, a five-year veteran of the department, was fatally shot about 11 p.m. Wednesday in the west parking lot of the Downey police station in the 11000 block of Brookshire Avenue. He died at the scene.
Investigators believe the suspects were out to rob someone and were unaware that Galvez was a police officer or that they were in a rear parking lot of the police station, sheriff's Lt. John Corina told reporters in a noon
news conference at police headquarters.
One suspect, the 21-year-old driver of the vehicle involved, was taken into custody following a police pursuit that ended in the 1000 block of Carob Way in Montebello soon after the shooting. He was caught by officers as he
tried to run through the backyards of some homes, according to the sheriff's department.
The others, one 16 and the other 18, were seen fleeing into a nearby home and were taken into custody by members of a sheriff's special weapons team after warrants were obtained, officials said.
The names of the suspects, who were all being held without bail, were not immediately released.
A handgun allegedly discarded by one of the suspects was recovered. Investigators believe it was used to kill Galvez, according to the sheriff's department. "They were out looking to rob somebody," Corina said.
Authorities believe no other suspects were involved in the crime.
According to Downey police, Galvez was on duty and returning to the police station from a training program during which he acted as a K-9 agitator. At a news conference about 6:30 a.m., Downey police Chief Carl Charles had described the fatally wounded officer.
"This morning I stand before you with a heavy heart," Charles said. "It is with great sadness that I report one of Downey's finest was shot and killed."
Referring to Galvez as "Ricky," Charles described the officer as "a tremendous young man, who loved serving the residents of Downey." "His smile was infectious, and his professionalism was always on display," according to Charles, who said the sheriff's department would be handling the investigation.
Late this morning, the officer's body was transported from the crime scene to the coroner's facility, escorted by a procession of police vehicles. Corina said a Downey police officer in his patrol vehicle heard the shooting and chased the suspect vehicle into Montebello, where the suspects bailed out.
Detectives reviewed surveillance video as part of their investigation, Corina said.
Corina said that, as one Downey police officer began a pursuit of the vehicle believed to be carrying the killers, another Downey officer came outside and found the fatally wounded officer.
Downey police spokesman Lt. Mark McDaniel said Galvez is survived by his mother, a brother, and two sisters. Galvez served in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to becoming a police officer, doing two tours of duty, at least one in Afghanistan.
"Ricky was an outstanding person, (an) outstanding police officer," McDaniel said. "If you could mold a police officer, you would mold that police officer after Ricky Galvez."
Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials paid tribute to the slain officer.
"Anne and I were saddened to learn of the death of Officer Galvez and extend our condolences to his family, friends and the entire law enforcement community in this difficult time," the governor said.
Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, expressed his condolences, saying, "This is a tremendous loss for his family, the Downey Police Department and the entire community."
U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, also expressed her "deepest sympathies," adding that her prayers were with the officer's "family, friends and co-workers in this difficult time."
To send a condolence card to the family of Officer Ricardo Gálvez:
Family of Ofc Ricky Galvez
c/o Downey PD
10911 Brookshire Ave, Downey, CA 90241
Donations benefitting Ofc Gálvez's family can be made at:
Downey Federal Credit Union
8237 Third Street
Downey, CA 90241
"Officer Ricardo Gálvez Fund"