Officers put their lives on the line everyday. It can happen anytime.
Two Palms Springs police officers were fatally shot and another injured Saturday while responding to family disturbance call, and a SWAT team remains at the scene, police said.
The officers responded to the scene near the corner of Racquet Club Road and Sunrise way about noon when the shooting occurred, authorities said.
“The officers were near the front door,” an emotional Police Chief Bryan Reyes told reporters during an afternoon news conference. “They were responding to a simple family disturbance and [the gunman] elected to open fire on the guardians of this city.”
He identified the two victims as Officer Jose Gilbert Vega and Officer Lelsey Zerebny. He did not give the condition of the third officer, who was being treated at a local hospital.
Reyes said that it was still an active scene and the officers believed the suspect may still be in the house. He said police would have an update later today on the suspect and the department’s history of calls for service at the residence.
Sgt. Sergeant William Hutchinson said multiple SWAT teams were on scene. The department sent out a “code red alert” and people in several nearby blocks were being evacuated.
“If you do live somewhere in the area, keep your doors locked,” Hutchinson said. “Please do not answer your doors for anybody.”
A law enforcement source the family disturbance involved an argument between a father and son that turned violent.
Photos on social media show a huge police presence from numerous jurisdictions in the area.
Georgie Eden, said she was outside in her garden with her son her husband doing yard work, when, “All of a sudden I hear this pow, pow, pow pow.”
“At first, I’m thinking perhaps it party poppers in the neighbor’s garden or something, and my husband’s like, ‘Uh, that’s gunfire – get in the house.’”
Eden then heard several more rounds of gunfire that seemed to continue for between 10 and 20 minutes, she said.
“So we stayed indoors,” she said, “and it was kind of, pretty scary.”
Nothing like this in has happened during the three years Eden has lived in Palm Springs, she said.