Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Three Police Officers Shot, 2 Officers are Dead in Palm Springs, Calif.

Shooter known to have mental health issues, Father called police to A domestic disturbance


October 9, 2016

Three Palm Springs police officers have been shot just after 3 pm PST Saturday, said police chief Brian Reyes. The condition of the third officer is described as "critical." The three officers had been responding to a domestic disturbance call. As of 10 PM, police were still on scene surrounding the house, believing the perpetrator may still be inside.

Saturday afternoon the two dead officers were identified as Jose Gilbert Vega, 53, and Leslie Zerebny, 27. More about them from the website is below

Dozens of law enforcement officers are involved in a search for the shooter in the are of Cypress and Del Lago roads in Palm Springs. Police are asking local residents to remain indoors as they search for the suspect.

At 3:15 p.m. PT, multiple officers in tactical gear were maintaining defensive positions behind a 4-foot concrete wall as if a shooter were still on scene. Several other officers stood close by an armored vehicle.

Witnesses said they heard between 10 and 20 gunshots from what sounded like machine guns. Over a dozen patrol cars, three fire engines and a SWAT truck were at the scene of the incident at 2 p.m. Palm Springs police and San Jacinto police were on scene.

"Several blocks have been cordoned off. Shooter is still at-large. Police urging residents to call 911 if they see anything suspicious," tweeted Patrick O'Neill. Patrick O'Neill ‏@PE_PatrickO 13m13 minutes agoPalm Springs, CA

"I'm awake in a nightmare right now," Reyes said, fighting back tears. "As Chief of Police, I need to step forward and stay focused."

"Today, Palm Springs lost 2 brave officers," Reyes said. "They gave it all for you."

Frances Serrano, who lives directly across the street from where the shooting took place, spoke to the father of the suspected shooter moments before the incident. The father told Serrano that his son, who has mental issues, had a gun and wanted to shoot cops.

"He came over and asked for help," she said.

Serrano called the police and the father walked back toward his house. Soon after, Serrano heard gunshots. Later police knocked on Serrano's door.

Palm Springs has the reputation of being mostly a retirement community, for older people who like or at least tolerate hot weather. The area is about 120 miles East of Los Angeles.

The officers who lost their lives for their community were Jose Gilbert "Gil" Vega and Lesley Zerebny. Gil had worked for the Palm Springs Police department for 35 years and was supposed to retire in December. He decided to work overtime today. He didn't have to, but he loved his job.

Lesley Zereby, 27, had worked for the Palm Springs Police Department for a year and a half. She leaves behind her 4 month old daughter. Lesley died a hero but her daughter will have to grow up without being able to experience her amazing mother first hand.

Local news agencies reported that the officer who was only wounded is alert and doing well.


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