Investigators seek killer of off-duty LAPD officer

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Investigators seek killer of off-duty LAPD officer

by City News Service

LOS ANGELES — The search continued Sunday for the person who killed an off-duty Los Angeles police officer in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles while family, friends, colleagues and civic leaders mourned his passing.

Los Angeles police Officer Juan Diaz was shot to death early Saturday, July 27, 2019, while off-duty in Lincoln Heights. (Photo courtesy of LAPD)

Officer Juan Jose Diaz, 24, was shot early Saturday outside a taco stand in the area of Avenue 26 and Artesian Street and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Diaz had been with the department for two years, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Section, and was last assigned to the Professional Standards Bureau.

No suspect description has been released.

A person who was wounded in connection with the fatal shooting remained in the hospital and was reported to be stable Sunday, police said.

More than 100 people gathered for a vigil in Diaz’s memory Saturday night in front of LAPD headquarters downtown, where others continue to leave flowers, candles and other remembrances. Among those participating were classmates who attended the Police Academy with Diaz, his two sisters, former teachers and former middle and high school classmates. Several officers at the vigil were in uniform with black mourning bands around their badges.

The vigil was held in front of a photo of a smiling Diaz with a sign that read: “Rest easy brother. We’ll hold the line from here.”

Sgt. Manny Hernandez, Diaz’s Police Academy sergeant in 2017, noted his pupil “was always asking questions.

“I saw him grow up and had no doubt he’d be a great police officer,” Hernandez said. “He showed up every day with a smile on his face.”

Diaz’s sister, Anahi Diaz, told the crowd her brother was living his dream, noting he wanted to be a police officer since pre-school. Their mother and father “are broken,” she said.

“We need to stop this madness,” she told the crowd.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom joined other officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, in extending his condolences to the slain officer’s family.

The “tragic killing of off-duty LAPD Officer Juan Diaz is a painful reminder of the gun violence that exists within our country,” Newsom said. “Jennifer and I offer our sincere condolences to Officer Diaz’s parents and siblings, Chief (Michel) Moore, the entire LAPD force and our extended law enforcement family. As a state, we must do more to stop these senseless acts that continue to take lives. We owe it to 24-year-old Officer Diaz and all Californians.”

On Saturday, a civilian flagged down an LAPD motorcycle officer shortly before 1 a.m. to report a shooting in the area of Avenue 26 and Artesian Street, according to Assistant Police Chief Beatrice Girmala.

The officer called for backup officers, who responded to the scene and located two victims suffering from gunshot wounds, Girmala said. Diaz was pronounced dead at the scene.

An official, who had been briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Diaz was standing in line at the food truck with his girlfriend and two other males when he noticed a man vandalizing something nearby and approached him. The official did not know if Diaz identified himself as a police officer.

The man left the area, returned with a group of other males and started shooting.

The source said police believe the gunman is a member of the Avenues gang, which is now the focus of the department’s investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

All credit goes to City News Service Originally published on

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