Two police officers were shot and killed on Saturday in the Southern California desert town of Palm Springs after they were called to an apparent domestic dispute and came under fire as they arrived on the scene, according to police and eyewitness accounts.
A third officer was wounded in the shooting around 1 p.m. local time, Palm Springs police said in online bulletins.
The officers who were killed were identified as Jose Vega, a 35-year veteran, and Lesley Zerebny, who had been an officer for about a year and a half.
Dozens of police officers swarmed the scene of the shooting, which unfolded in a residential neighborhood of Palm Springs, a normally placid resort community about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
A suspect in the shooting was believed to be holed up inside a house surrounded by police in tactical gear, with an armored assault vehicle stationed in front of the house with an officer perched in a turret atop the vehicle.
A neighbor, Juan Graciano, 67, said he heard angry shouting between a father and son who live at the residence in question before the father emerged from the home, crossed the street and asked another neighbor to call for help.
Graciano said the other neighbor apparently called police, who came under fire as they arrived at the home, and that some police returned fire. He said he saw one female officer who appeared to be wounded lying on the ground as fellow officers tried to resuscitate her.
“I think he’s still inside,” Graciano said of the suspected gunman.
According to the local Desert Sun newspaper, witnesses reported hearing between 10 and 20 gunshots during the incident.
(Reporting by Sam Mircovich in Palm Springs; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Bernard Orr, Toni Reinhold)