Man Pleads Not Guilty in Hit-and-Run That Killed LAPD Officer

Prosecutors say Harbor City man struck police cruiser, killing one and injuring a second officer

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    LAPD Officer Roberto Sanchez was killed in a hit-and-run collision May 3, 2014. Mynor Valera, 20, of Harbor City, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges stemming from the crash.

    A Harbor City man pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday in connection to a hit-and-run crash that left a Los Angeles police officer dead over the weekend.

    Prosecutors allege Mynor Enrique Varela, 20, was behind the wheel of the SUV that slammed into an LAPD patrol car early Saturday in Los Angeles, killing Officer Roberto Sanchez.

    Latest LAPD Funeral Straining Special Fund

    [LA] Latest LAPD Funeral Straining Special Fund
    The third LAPD officer death in nearly three months is surely taking an emotional toll on everyone in the department, but the financial cost of handling officer deaths is also creating its own difficulties. Conan Nolan reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    Sanchez, 32, died at the scene. His partner, fellow Harbor Division Officer Richard Medina, suffered serious injuries including a broken jaw.

    Varela has been charged with one count of murder, one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, two counts of assault on a peace officer and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.

    LAPD Family Remember Fallen LAPD Officer

    [LA] LAPD Family Remember Fallen LAPD Officer
    When he was killed in a fatal car accident, Officer Roberto Sanchez was working a challenging assignment in LA’s Harbor Gateway area. As his family mourns their loss, his LAPD colleagues are mourning the loss of yet another beloved comrade. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Harbor City for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014. (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    He is being held without bail, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He is due back in court June 11.

    Varela's attorney, Regina Filippone, told reporters outside the courthouse her client has no crimninal history. She declined to comment specifically on the charges, saying the investigation is in its very early stages.

    If convicted, Varela faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    According to LAPD officials, Sanchez and Medina were pursuing a white Chevrolet Camaro east on Anaheim Street in Harbor City for a traffic violation at 3:45 a.m. when both cars made a U-turn at Senator Avenue.

    The police cruiser was hit on the driver’s side by the SUV, which was also traveling east on Anaheim Street.

    It is unclear if the cruiser's lights and sirens were on.

    Sanchez, a 6-year veteran of the force, lived in Santa Ana with his wife of three months. A funeral service has been scheduled for May 14 at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

    Sanchez is the third Los Angeles police officer to die in a crash in two months.