Authorities on Friday released the names of two brothers suspected in the shooting death of a Downey police officer killed during an apparent botched robbery as he sat in plain clothes in his personal vehicle in a parking lot near the police station.
Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, are both being held without bail and are due to appear in court in Downey on Monday, as is a 16- year-old Bellflower boy who was charged Friday as an adult with murder in connection with the killing, officials said.
Abel Diaz, who will turn 17 next week, appeared in a courtroom in Downey on Friday and was ordered to be held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his arraignment, which was postponed to Monday.
Diaz is charged in the killing of Officer Ricardo Galvez, 29, who was fatally shot about 11 p.m. Wednesday while sitting in his BMW 335 in a public civic center parking lot adjacent to the Downey police station in the 11000 block of Brookshire Avenue.
The five-year department veteran died at the scene.
The teen and two young men arrested are considered the only suspects in the Galvez killing.
Alvarez, the driver of the vehicle involved, was taken into custody following a police pursuit that ended in the 1000 block of Carob Way in Montebello soon after the shooting. He was caught by officers as he tried to run through the backyards of some homes, according to the sheriff’s department.
Authorities said the other two suspects were seen fleeing into a nearby home and were taken into custody by members of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department special weapons team after warrants were obtained, officials said.
Knott and Alvarez have not been charged.
Outside the Downey courthouse, Diaz’s sister, Maricela Alvarado, said her brother told her he did not shoot Galvez. She showed reporters a text message Diaz sent her at 11:18 p.m. Wednesday, about 20 minutes after the shooting.
“Mari I love all y’all,” the message read. “My homie (expletive) up n did something.”
Investigators believe the suspects were out to rob someone and were unaware that Galvez was a police officer or that they were in a rear parking lot of the police station, sheriff’s Lt. John Corina told reporters Thursday at police headquarters.
A handgun allegedly discarded by one of the suspects was recovered. Investigators believe it was used to kill Galvez, according to the sheriff’s department.
According to Downey police, Galvez was on duty and returning to the police station from a training program during which he acted as a K-9 agitator.
Corina said a Downey police officer in his patrol vehicle heard the shooting and chased the suspect vehicle into Montebello, where the suspects bailed out.
Detectives reviewed surveillance video as part of their investigation, Corina said.
Corina said that, as one Downey police officer began a pursuit of the vehicle believed to be carrying the killers, another Downey officer came outside and found the fatally wounded officer.
Referring to Galvez as “Ricky,” Downey police Chief Carl Charles described the officer as “a tremendous young man, who loved serving the residents of Downey.”
Downey police spokesman Lt. Mark McDaniel said Galvez is survived by his mother, a brother, and two sisters. Galvez was in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to becoming a police officer, serving two tours of duty, one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan.
“Ricky was an outstanding person, (an) outstanding police officer,” McDaniel said. “If you could mold a police officer, you would mold that police officer after Ricky Galvez.”
The officer’s body was taken late Thursday morning from the crime scene to the coroner’s office, escorted by a procession of police vehicles.
If convicted of the murder charge, Diaz could face up to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
— City News Service