2 officers dead, 1 injured in Palm Springs shooting; suspect arrested

Posted at 2:54 PM, Oct 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-09 13:42:30-04

UPDATE (Oct. 9, 2016 9:40 a.m.): Police announced that the suspect is in custody and has been identified as John Felix, 26.

A press release from the Stanley Sniff Sheriff's office said in part: 

"After a lengthy standoff, the suspect surrendered peacefully to Riverside County Sheriff's Department SWAT members and was taken into custody. The suspect has been identified as 26-year-old, Palm Springs resident, John Felix. Felix received non-life threatening injuries during this incident and was treated at a local hospital.  Felix will be booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center, located in the city of Riverside, on two counts of murder on a peace officer. Felix's booking photograph is not available at this time."

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Palm Springs police said three officers have been shot, and the Palm Springs Police Officers Association said that the 2 of the 3 officers have died.

The officers shot and killed have been identified as Jose "Gil" Gilbert Vega and Lesley Zerebny, KGTV in San Diego reported. Zerebny was back at work after giving birth four months ago. Vega had been in the force 35 years.


Photo By (Photo: Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)

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

The shooting 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 said 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.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued the following statement on the deaths of the Palm Springs Police Department officers:

"Officer Vega and Officer Zerebny served the city of Palm Springs with heroic valor and bravery and today, courageously made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. On behalf of the entire California Department of Justice, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of Officer Vega and Officer Zerebny. I respectfully ask all Californians to keep the men and women of the Palm Springs Police Department and Chief Bryan Reyes in your thoughts and prayers. Today's tragic loss is a reminder of the daily risks our state's peace officers confront to keep us safe."