Authorities: 2 L.A. County Police Officers ‘Murdered by a Coward’ in Shooting

Two police officers in El Monte, California, were shot and killed Tuesday while responding to a report of a possible stabbing at a motel in the city, authorities announced.

At a press conference Tuesday night, El Monte Police Chief Ben Lowry said the officers’ identities are currently being withheld but noted they were a 22-year veteran and a rookie from the El Monte Police Department (EMPD).

“They get up with an oath to protect people and to serve them, and these two heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice. Today, they were murdered by a coward,” Lowry stated. 

In a press release the City of El Monte, some 13 miles West of Los Angeles, stated the shootings took place when the officers responded to a report of a possible stabbing at the Siesta Inn. CBS Los Angeles noted it occurred around 4:45 p.m.

One of the officers entered a hotel room, made contact with the suspect, and was subsequently shot, Los Angeles County Homicide Captain Andrew Meyer said at the press conference, later noting that the investigation was “very preliminary.”  

“The suspect fled the hotel room into the parking lot, and the second officer-involved shooting occurred,” Meyer stated. 

Both officers were rushed to LAC-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, where they succumbed to their injuries. The suspect was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, and a gun was recovered near the body.

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said the officers were “essentially ambushed” at the scene.

When asked about the “status of the stabbing victim,” the homicide captain said it was his “understanding she was not stabbed,” adding that she was believed to be “the suspect’s girlfriend.” Officers were conducting interviews with the woman.

“I’ve heard the only way to take the sting out of death is to take the love out of life, and believe me, they were loved,” said Lowry. “These two men were loved. They were good men.” 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is heading up the investigation, which the EMPD will “actively” participate in, the city said in its release. 

Ancona emphasized that both “officers were like family in our community with deep ties to our neighborhoods.”

“There are no words to describe our grief and devastation by this senseless act as we learned about the passing of two of our officers,” the City of El Monte, the EMPD, and El Monte Police Officer Association said in a joint statement. “It weighs heavy on our hearts and we are sending our support to their families.”

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