Community leaders and law enforcement members were in mourning Wednesday for two El Monte Police Department officers who were shot and killed at a motel.
The man who killed the police officers was also shot and killed.
The shooting occurred about 5:10 p.m. Tuesday at the Siesta Inn at 10327 Garvey Ave., near the San Bernardino Freeway, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which was assisting El Monte police with the investigation.
Police recovered a firearm at the scene, said Deputy Brenda Serna of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Neither the suspect nor the officers were immediately identified, though acting El Monte Police Department Chief Ben Lowry said one officer was a 22-year veteran of the department, while the other had been with the department for less than a year.
Both officers were married and have children, according to El Monte officials.
Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Meyer said the officers were responding to the motel regarding reports of a stabbing and came under fire when they attempted to make contact with the suspect inside a room. The suspect then ran from the motel into a parking lot, where a second shooting occurred.
A witness, Arthur Kingsbury, told reporters he heard shots coming from the motel.
“When I saw the officers start to duck and cover, I knew they had been shot,” he said.
The officers were taken to County-USC Medical Center where they later died of their injuries, and the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Serna. Witnesses say a body could be seen covered by a sheet at the shooting scene.
“These heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Lowry said at a Tuesday night news conference. “Today they were murdered by a coward.”
El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said during the news conference, “Heartbroken doesn’t begin to express the loss that we feel.”
“They were acting as the first line of defense for community members when they were essentially ambushed while trying to keep the family safe,” Ancona said.
The shooting came one day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot multiple times during a traffic stop in Studio City.