PALM SPRINGS, CA – Two Palm Springs, California Police officers lost their lives in the line of duty Saturday and a gunman is in custody.
On Saturday, October 8, 2016, at approximately 12:10 PM, officers from the Palm Springs Police Department responded to the 2700 block of North Cypress Road, in the city of Palm Springs, after receiving a report of a family disturbance. Four Palm Springs officers arrived and attempted to have a male step out of the residence. During this initial contact, officers were met with gunfire through the closed front door and an officer involved shooting occurred. During the exchange of gunfire, three officers were injured. Additional officers responded and administered life saving measures to the injured officers and attempted to apprehend the suspect. The suspect refused to surrender and exchanged gunfire with officers as he barricaded himself in his residence.
The injured officers were transported to a local hospital. Two of the three officers, Officers Jose “Gil” Vega and Lesley Zerebny, were pronounced deceased at the hospital. The third officer was also struck by gunfire and is recovering from non-life threatening injuries.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene. The Coachella Valley Regional SWAT Team, with assistance from the Hemet-Murrieta Regional SWAT Team, arrived and secured the residence. As a precautionary measure, residents in adjacent homes were evacuated. The Palm Springs Police Department requested assistance from the Riverside County Sheriff Department’s SWAT Team to apprehend the suspect, and the Riverside County Sheriff Department’s Central Homicide Unit to conduct the criminal investigation.
After a lengthy standoff, the suspect surrendered peacefully to Riverside County Sheriff’s Department SWAT members and was taken into custody. The suspect has been identified as 26-year-old, Palm Springs resident, John Felix. Felix received non-life threatening injuries during this incident and was treated at a local hospital. Felix will be booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center, located in the city of Riverside, on two counts of murder on a peace officer.
The Palm Springs Police Department officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave per their department policy.