Man Who Killed Two Palm Springs Officers Eligible for Death Penalty

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PALM SPRINGS – The Riverside County District Attorney’s officials announced on Wednesday that charges were filed against 26-year-old, John Hernandez Felix for the murders of two Palm Springs Department officers; one just beginning her career and one nearing his retirement. Felix was charged with two counts of murder for the shooting death of Officer Jose Gilbert Vega, 63; and Officer Lesley Zerebny, 27. In addition to the murder charges, Felix has also been charged with three counts of attempted murder of three other Palm Springs police officers, one of whom was injured.

Felix is also facing charges of illegal possession an assault weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition after being a convicted felon, and the possession of stolen property; the assault weapon that was used in the crime. Felix will also be facing special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, the murder of law enforcement officer and lying in wait; making him eligible for the death penalty.

The shooting murders and attempted murders occurred while Palm Springs police were dispatched to a home in the 2700 block of Cypress Road in Palm Springs on Saturday, October 8, 2016, for the report of a family disturbance.

Through investigation, it was learned that Felix was wearing a body vest and used a firearm with armor-piercing ammunition. The investigation revealed that Felix, who was wearing a body vest, fired multiple shots using armor-piercing ammunition through a closed door, striking Vega, Zerebny, and a third officer. Multiple police from the Palm Springs Department, as well as other law enforcement agencies, responded when the shots fired and officer down was broadcasted by officers at the scene.

Felix barricaded himself in the home for 12 hours before he was taken into custody outside of the home. The Riverside District Attorney, Mike Hestrin will later determine whether they will seek the death penalty. Felix is expected to appear at the Larson Justice Center in Indio on Thursday afternoon.

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