A 17-year-old boy and two young men were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in the shooting death of a Downey police officer who was killed during an apparent botched robbery near a police station last month, but the hearing was postponed at the request of the defense.
Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, are charged with capital murder and attempted second-degree robbery in the killing of Officer Ricardo Galvez.
Seventeen-year-old Abel Diaz, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, is facing one count each of murder and attempted second-degree robbery. Diaz, because of his age, faces up to life in state prison if convicted as charged.
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The complaint includes a special circumstance that the murder occurred during an attempted robbery, and includes gun and gang allegations. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against the two young men.
The new hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15.
Galvez was fatally shot about 11 p.m. on Nov. 18 while sitting in his car in a public civic center parking lot adjacent to the Downey police station in the 11000 block of Brookshire Avenue. Galvez had just returned from a training program and was not wearing his uniform when he was shot, according to Downey police. The five-year department veteran died at the scene.
Alvarez, the driver of the vehicle believed to be involved in the robbery attempt, was taken into custody following a police pursuit that ended in the 1000 block of Carob Way in Montebello soon after the shooting. Officers caught Alvarez as he tried to run through the backyards of homes, according to the sheriff's department.
Authorities said the other two suspects were seen fleeing into a nearby home and taken into custody by members of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department special weapons team after warrants were obtained, officials said.
Diaz's sister, Maricela Alvarado, said her brother told her he did not shoot Galvez. She showed reporters a text message Diaz sent her at 11:18 p.m. Wednesday, about 20 minutes after the shooting.
"Mari I love all y'all," the message read. "My homie (expletive) up n did something."
Investigators believe the suspects were out to rob someone and were unaware that Galvez was an officer or that they were in a rear parking lot of the police station.
At a Norwalk court on Thursday, high-power attorney Blair Berk--known for defending A-list Hollywood celebrities--substituted in to represent Diaz, who is being charged as an adult.
Authorities have already indicated Diaz was not the shooter, and the District Attorney is expected to seek Diaz's cooperation and testimony.
Berk declined to comment.
Legal representation for at least one of the two brothers is still being resolved.
Galvez joined the department in 2006 as a police aide. He was hired as a police officer with the department in March 2010. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Police Chief Carl Charles described Galvez as a compassionate and humble man with a "smile that would light up a room."
City News Service contributed to this report.