The Latest: Somber police salute slain California officers


PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of three police officers in Palm Springs. (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Dozens of police officers, several fighting back tears, are giving somber salutes as the bodies of two Palm Springs officers killed Saturday are loaded into hearses for transfer to a coroner’s office.

The officers and numerous civilians gathered Saturday night outside the Palm Springs Desert Regional Medical Center, where Officers Lesley Zerebny and Jose Gilbert Vega died of their wounds.

The officers’ flag-draped coffins were wheeled out of the hospital and gently placed in white hearses.

A third officer remains at the hospital, being treated for gunshot wounds.

Meanwhile, SWAT officers have surrounded a home where the shooting took place Saturday afternoon. They believe the gunman may still be inside.

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6:45 p.m.

Police Chief Bryan Reyes says SWAT officers have surrounded a house in Palm Springs, California where the man who fatally shot two officers may still be inside.

Reyes says he’s holding off on revealing the suspect’s name until he confers with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which is now heading the shooting investigation.

The chief also released more information on the slain officers.

Twenty-seven-year-old Lesley Zerebny had recently returned to the force from maternity leave and was the mother of a 4-month-old daughter.

Jose Gilbert Vega, a father of eight, was a 35-year veteran of the force who was scheduled to retire in December.

No update was given on the condition of the third wounded officer.

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5 p.m.

Police Chief Bryan Reyes says three officers in Palm Springs, California were trying to resolve a family dispute Saturday when a man fatally shot two of them and wounded the third.

Reyes told reporters the officers were talking calmly to the man, trying to resolve things when he suddenly opened fire on them.

The chief, his voice breaking, identified the fatally wounded officers as Jose Gilbert Vega and Lesley Zerebny. He did not disclose their rank or any other information about them.

Reyes said the gunman was still at large and may still be in the home where the shooting occurred.

He said he would release more information later.

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4:30 p.m.

Police in Palm Springs say the shooting of three officers occurred after they arrived at a home following a report of a domestic disturbance.

The officers’ conditions are not known.

Dozens of law enforcement officers converged on a normally quiet residential neighborhood after the shooting.

Police also issued a warning that people inside their homes should stay there, lock their doors and not answer them until further notice.

SWAT officers raced to the scene after the shooting but no one was immediately arrested. Police said they believed no one else was hurt.

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3:19 p.m.

Palm Springs police say three officers have been shot but there’s no word on their conditions.

A police statement says the shooting occurred Saturday afternoon north of Racquet Club Road and east of Sunrise Way.

There are no immediate details of the shooting, which comes days after a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant was shot and killed in the high desert town of Lancaster.

Sgt. Steve Owen was answering a burglary call when sheriff’s officials say he was shot and wounded by a man who then stood over him and shot him four more times.

A paroled robber has been charged with the sergeant’s murder.

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