A prisoner paroled early due to California’s new early release law allegedly killed his cousin, stole a car on Sunday and Monday, and later opened fire on three police officers, wounding one and killing another.
“We need to wake up. Enough is enough,” said Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper, speaking of slain officer Keith Boyer, a 27-year police department veteran.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Piper came to tears as he praised Boyer: “He was the best of the best.”
According to Piper, the suspect was released from custody because of new California laws designed to release prisoners early from overcrowded jails. He was released just two weeks ago.
The suspect — a Los Angeles gang member, according to police — is believed to have killed his cousin, then stolen a car on Sunday. Around 8 a.m. on Monday, three officers arrived in three cars on the scene of a traffic collision. The officers did not know the vehicle was stolen at the time they arrived, according to the L.A. Times report. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Corina stated that the suspect began firing at the officers, the reason for which was unknown as of Monday. The officers returned fire.
Boyer and one other officer were wearing bulletproof vests when they were hit. Each was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, according to the local news report. Corina told reporters that Boyer was pronounced dead at the medical center. The suspect was also struck by gunfire and was apprehended. He was also taken to an area hospital.
Boyer was honored Monday afternoon as officers from multiple agencies formed two lines, between which Boyer’s body was transported out of the medical facility and into an Orange County coroner’s vehicle, according to the Orange County Register. Eight officers turned aside to wipe away tears as the fallen officer was wheeled past.
Officers and firefighters saluted the vehicle as it drove away. Approximately a dozen squad cars fell in behind the coroner’s vehicle as many other vehicles followed.
Officer Boyer leaves behind several children. “This is an unbelievably senseless tragedy,” said Piper on Monday according to the Times. After placing blame on California’s early release laws, the police chief said, “We need to wake up. Enough is enough.”
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