Gunman kills two police officers in California desert town | News | DW | 09.10.2016
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Gunman kills two police officers in California desert town

A specially trained police unit has surrounded the house where the suspect is believed to be holed-up. It is the second deadly shooting incident of California law enforcement officers in a week.

A California SWAT team has surrounded a house where a gunman allegedly shot and killed two police officers, and wounded a third, on Saturday while responding to a domestic dispute call.

The officers were calmly talking to the suspect on the front porch when he suddenly pulled out his gun and opened fire, according to Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes.

"It was a simple family disturbance and he elected to open fire on a few of the guardians of the city," said Reyes, his voice breaking as he spoke to reporters. He said the officers were standing near the front door speaking with the man, "trying to negotiate with the suspect to just comply," when he suddenly began shooting.

The chief, fighting back tears, identified the dead officers as Jose "Gil" Gilbert Vega and Lesley Zerebny. He did not identify the wounded officer.

Police confront suspect

Dozens of police officers descended on the normally calm residential neighborhood in the desert resort city after the shooting. Several blocks have been sealed of and some nearby residents have been evacuated.

Others in the neighborhood were warned to lock themselves inside their homes and stay there until further notice.

The shooting comes just three days after a popular Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant was shot and killed in the desert town of Lancaster, about 125 miles (200 km) northwest of Saturday's shooting.

The US has been roiled by a stream of deadly shootings, both of innocent civilians by police, but also officers being shot by members of the public.

bik/lw (AP, dpa)

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