DOWNEY, Calif. — An officer shot to death while sitting in his car in the parking lot of Downey police headquarters was apparently targeted, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said Thursday.
Officer Ricardo Galvez was in the driver's seat of his personal vehicle when two male suspects ran up and opened fire late Wednesday, Sheriff's Lt. John Corina said. The five-year department veteran died in the car.
Another officer heard the gunshots and pursued the suspects, who drove off into the neighboring city of Montebello. Authorities didn't say whether they believed Galvez was targeted for personal reasons or because of his profession.
A large perimeter was set up as SWAT officers swept neighborhoods early Thursday.
A number of people were detained and investigators were trying to determine if any of them were the suspects, Corina said. No weapons were recovered.
Montebello resident Victor Bocanegra said police knocked on his door shortly after 2 a.m. and escorted his family out to the street.
"They've evacuated some buildings and some townhomes," Bocanegra told KABC-TV. "My family's scared."
Bocanegra said he saw police put at least two people into patrol cars and drive away.
Downey Police Chief Carl Charles praised Galvez's professionalism and said the officer loved serving the city.
"Words cannot express the love we have for Ricky," he said.
Galvez was a Marine veteran from the Downey area. He was not married but lived close to his siblings and other family members, Charles said at a press conference.
The parking lot at the police department was cordoned off by sheriff's homicide detectives.
Downey is a city of about 110,000 residents 10 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
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