Police arrested three people on Friday, Aug.2, in the murder of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Juan Diaz, 24. He was off duty when he was shot on July 27 as he confronted a group of vandals, The Associated Press reported.
The department’s SWAT team, the Metropolitan Division, and other local law enforcement divisions helped arrest the suspects in Riverside, Murrieta, and Temecula, outside the city, Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
The three suspects, 20-year-old males, have not yet been named.
Search warrants were being executed across parts of Los Angeles County, California, including Glassell Park and Mount Washington.
“These are the folks we believe are responsible for that senseless murder of Juan Diaz,” LAPD Assistant Chief Director Beatrice Girmala said.
“We appreciate the relentless effort our detectives and officers put into finding these killers,” the Los Angeles Police Protective League said. The league represents nearly 10,000 members.
Diaz, a two-year LAPD veteran, was with his girlfriend and her two brothers at a taco stand when he saw a group of men who appeared to be vandalizing a wall and asked them to stop. Members of the group reportedly approached him, making threats and flashing a gun.
Diaz and his companions got in his pickup truck and drove off, but the men shot at the truck, killed Diaz at the scene and injured his girlfriend’s brother.
A vigil was held at the LAPD headquarters on Saturday, July 28, where mourners left flowers and tokens in memory of the fallen officer.
Diaz grew up in Northeast Los Angeles and wanted to be a police officer since childhood, Garcetti said. He performed “exceptionally well” at the police academy and “because of that was picked for some special duty,” landing an assignment to the Special Operations Division of the Professional Standards Bureau, or internal affairs.