PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Oct. 9 (UPI) — Suspected gunman John Felix was captured alive after a 12-hour standoff in the shooting death of two Palm Springs police officers.
The standoff began with an exchange of gunfire between Felix and several police officers on Saturday afternoon while responding to a domestic dispute. Felix allegedly fired several shots through the front door of his home, killing two officers and injuring a third.
Twelve hours after the gun battle began, Felix surrendered and was taken into custody. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital before being booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, Calif.
Reports suggest Felix has ties to Latino gang activity in the area. In 2009, Felix was convicted of assault with a firearm in an attempted gang-related murder plot and sentenced to four years. In 2013, he was arrested for fighting with police officers on the same front stoop through which bullets were fired on Saturday afternoon.
“Today Palm Springs lost two brave officers,” Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes confirmed at a news conference. “I am awake in a nightmare right now.”
Jose Gilbert Vega, 35, and Lesley Zerebny, 27, became the first two police officers killed on duty in Palm Springs since 1962.
“They go out every day with their boots on the ground,” Reyes said. “They gave their all for you.”
Frances Serrano, an across the street neighbor of Felix, called police after Felix’s father came to ask for help.
“He said, ‘Help. I need help. My son is in the house, and he’s crazy. He has a gun. He’s ready to shoot all the police,'” Serrano told the Los Angeles Times.
“He was afraid of his son,” Serrano said.