Gang member suspected of killing two Palm Springs police officers - including a new mom and father-of-eight veteran just two months from retirement - is taken into custody
- John Felix, 26, was taken into custody after a 12-hour standoff with police
- He is a known gang member and was part of an attempted assassination
- Felix is accused of killing officers Jose Gilbert 'Gil' Vega, 63, and Lesley Zerebny, 27
- The third officer is 'alert and well' at a local hospital after being shot
A man has been arrested after two police officers were killed and one injured after being shot in Palm Springs, California on Saturday while responding to a 'family disturbance.'
John Felix, 26, a known gang member, was taken into custody at around 12:50 a.m. Sunday morning after a 12-hour standoff with police.
He is accused of killing officers Jose Gilbert 'Gil' Vega and Lesley Zerebny, and wounding one of their colleagues.
According to the Desert Sun, Felix has ties to criminal organizations and served four years in prison after a failed gangland assassination in 2009.
Scroll down for video
Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes identified the two officers killed in a shooting on Saturday as Jose Gilbert 'Gil' Vega (left) and Lesley Zerebny (right)
Zerebny (above), 27, was a rookie who had only worked on the police force for about a year and a half. She had just returned back to duty after giving birth to a baby girl four months ago
Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes (above) said Vega was a 35-year veteran of the force, while Zerebny had just returned back to duty after giving birth to a baby girl four months ago
Saturday's shooting took place near Sunrise Way and Racquet Club Road in the luxury desert town as officers were responding to a 'family disturbance' around 2pm, Sgt. Hutchinson of Palm Springs Police Department said.
Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes tearfully identified the two deceased officers as during an afternoon press conference.
'This is extremely difficult for me,' Reyes said as his voice was breaking. 'Today Palm Springs lost two brave officers. They go out every day and put their boots on the ground for everybody in this community, they gave it all for you.'
Reyes said that Vega, a 63-year-old father to eight children, was a 35-year veteran of the police department who was set to retire in December.
He added that Vega was not originally scheduled to work on Saturday, but picked up the shift to work overtime.
Zerebny, 27, was a rookie who had only worked on the police force for about a year and a half, Reyes said as his voice cracked.
He explained that Zerebny had just returned back to duty after giving birth to a baby girl four months ago.
The two police officers killed in Palm Springs, California on Saturday were responding to a call about a 'family disturbance.' A third police officer was shot and is hospitalized. Scene pictured above
The officers were immediately rushed to a local hospital after the horrific shooting. Scene pictured above
'Here you have a wonderful, young, dedicated female officer that pressed forward every day to make it better for everybody else, and she gave her all,' Reyes said.
Zerebny's husband is a Riverside County sheriff's deputy.
Reyes said the third police officer who was shot is 'alert and doing well' at the local hospital.
He explained that a woman called 911 saying her son was causing a disturbance at a home on 2700 Cypress Road.
Reyes said that when officers arrived at 12:18pm, the male refused to open the door and threatened to shoot through the closed door.
The officers were trying to negotiate with the suspect to comply, but he opened fire on them.
'It was a simple family disturbance and he elected to open fire on a few of the guardians of the city,' Reyes said.
Dozens of law enforcement officers, including the SWAT team, are searching for the shooter in the area of Cypress and Del Lago roads in Palm Springs.
Reyes said it's unclear what type of weapon the man used and that the central homicide unit of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is in charge of the investigation.
The shooting took place near Sunrise Way and Racquet Club Road as officers were responding to a 'family disturbance'. Scene pictured above
The shooter has not been found, as his whereabouts are unknown as of 8:24pm ET. Above armed police officers at the scene
Dozens of law enforcement officers, including the SWAT team, are searching for the shooter in the area of Cypress and Del Lago roads in Palm Springs. Scene pictured above
Witnesses say they heard between 10 and 20 gunshots from what sounded like machine guns, the newspaper reported.
While walking out of the emergency room where the officers had been taken, Palm Springs Mayor Rob Moon said: 'It's probably the worst day of my life.'
Frances Serrano lives directly across the street from where the deadly incident happened and she spoke to the father of the suspected gunman not long after the shooting.
Serrano was reportedly told that the son, who allegedly has mental issues, wanted to shoot police officers and had a gun, the Desert Sun reported.
'He came over and asked for help,' she said.
Serrano called 911 and the man walked back towards his house and then soon after she said she heard gunshots.
Police are asking for residents in the area to stay indoors as they conduct the investigation and search for the shooter. Scene pictured above
Above police officers from various agencies are shown at their command center on Saturday in Palm Springs
A law enforcement officer joins other emergency personnel in Palm Springs on Saturday
Later on Saturday evening, mourners had left flowers and candles at a growing memorial located in front of the police station for the fallen officers (above)
'I saw a person on the ground,' said Gerardo Barrera, who was working near the scene. 'Someone kept pumping her chest but she wasn't moving.'
Barrera said that police arrived right away to the scene.
'It sounded like fireworks at first,' said Juan Garciano. 'I came out of the house and saw police start to block the roads.'
The Torchwood and Dr. Who star John Barrowman said the shooting took place about 200 yards from his house, as he expressed shock over the 'terrible' incident that took the lives of two officers.
Peace officers lend each other support at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs on Saturday after the horrific police-involved shooting
Palm Springs Police Officers carry the body of a fellow officer from Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs to a hearse bound for the coroner's office in Indio, California on Saturday
'There's been a shooting in Palm Springs, two police officers have died and one is, I guess injured,' the actor said in a video shared to Twitter while speaking in what appeared to be his back yard.
The actor expressed his support for the Palm Springs Police Department along with his husband Scott Gill.
Barrowman said that police helicopters were circling above his home in the area, as everything 'is shut down'.
Later on Saturday evening, mourners had left flowers and candles at a growing memorial located in front of the police station for the fallen officers.
In addition, members of the Palm Springs Fire Department and the police department saluted the cortege which was led by the bodies of Vega and Zerebny.
Police officers from several organizations pay tribute as the bodies of two Palm Springs police officers are loaded in hearses bound for the coroner's office on Saturday
Members of the Palm Springs Fire Department and the police department saluted the cortege which was led by the bodies of Vega and Zerebny (above)
Most watched News videos
- CCTV captures final tragic moments of Mirna Salihin's life
- Mother shaves daughters hair after she 'bullies cancer girl'
- GRAPHIC CONTENT: 'Ghost' rises from body after fatal crash
- Bulls head butt each other then die instantly from brutal blow
- Shocking moment girl gets viciously beaten after starting fight
- Mother releases devastating footage of son's final moments
- Lorry smashes into car leaving driver with severe injuries
- Is this the creepy moment the corpse of a girl OPENS her eyes?
- 'Big fat gypsy wedding' in Romania goes on for FOUR days
- Groom ALREADY tired of marriage life just after 15 minutes
- 'Pascal's a G!' Kim Kardashian speaks well of her bodyguard
- GoPro captures the moment a croc swims amongst swimmers