Authorities Friday arrested three suspects wanted in the killing of an off-duty LAPD officer who was gunned down in Lincoln Heights nearly a week ago.
“These are the folks that we believe are responsible for that senseless murder of Juan Diaz,” said LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala.
Girmala said the suspects are in their 20s. Their names were not immediately released.
The arrests were made in Riverside, Murrieta and Temecula, Girmala told the Los Angeles Times.
The early morning actions were taken by members of the LAPD’s SWAT team and Metropolitan Division, along with personnel from various other agencies including the Murrieta Police Department.
Diaz, 24, was fatally shot early Saturday morning after he confronted a group of taggers near a taco stand while he was off duty in the area of Avenue 26 and Artesian Street.
Warrants were served in Riverside and Los Angeles counties, including in the Glassell Park and Mt. Washington areas.
According to NBC4, a raid in Mt. Washington took place about a mile from the scene where the killing occurred, and a raid in Murrieta took place in a neighborhood where one of the suspects had been tracked earlier this week.
Diaz had been assigned to the Special Operations Division unit of the Professional Standards Bureau, or internal affairs, though all indications were that the shooting was unrelated to his secretive work, law enforcement sources told NBC4.
Following the arrests, the Los Angeles Police Protective League union issued this statement:
“We are grateful that the cowards and thugs accused of the cold-blooded murder of Officer Juan Diaz are in custody. We appreciate the relentless effort our detectives and officers put in to finding these killers. We urge District Attorney Jackie Lacey to prosecute these cop killers to the fullest extent of the law, including seeking the death penalty. We continue to pray for and support Officer Diaz’s family during this time of grief.”
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