Vigil Held in Honor of Officer Killed in Palm Springs Shooting

A community vigil was held Sunday night to honor Officer Lesley Zerebny, who was shot and killed during a standoff in Palm Springs last weekend. 

The vigil will took place at West Valley High School, Zerebny's alma mater, at 5 p.m. 

The school and the Hemet Police Department hosted the vigil to "give San Jacinto Valley residents an opportunity to mourn the loss and celebrate" her life, Hemet police said in a Facebook post. 

"She loved it. She was meant to be a police officer and you can't go back and wish something different because she was truly happy," Zerebny's sister Britta Boyer said at Sunday's vigil. 

Zerebny, 27, Officer Jose Gilbert Vega, 63, and a third officer responded to a family disturbance call last Saturday when a suspect opened fire.

Two of the officers — Zerebny and Vega — died shortly after the shooting and the third officer was wounded.

John Hernandez Felix, 26, remained jailed Sunday without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of shooting and killing the two officers, and for wounding a third.

"It's heartbreaking and amazing at the same time, the amount of support that both families have received is unbelievable," Boyer said.

Zerebny had been with the department for a year and a half, said Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes. She had recently returned to work after giving birth.

Reyes said Zerebny had returned from maternity leave early after the birth of her daughter to help out.

"To see her laying down with her eyes open and to witness her husband in full Riverside County Sheriff's uniform because he's a deputy sheriff, kiss her on the forehead for the last time, it’s tough," Reyes said during a news conference.

The parents of the rookie said their daughter followed in her father's footsteps to share her special gifts as a law enforcement officer. 

David Kling worked for 30 years as a California Highway Patrol officer. He pinned the badge on his daughter's uniform when she became a member of the Palm Springs Police Department.

"It's probably the proudest moment in my life, that I was able to do that," said David Kling. "I can still see her walking across that stage with the biggest smile on her face that you've ever seen."

"Every holiday will be hard," said mother Luanne Kling. "Every day will be hard."

She grew up in Hemet and attended West Valley High School, where her parents said she was known for helping others.

"When she saw bullying on the school campus, she would step in," said father David Kling. "When new kids came to the school, she would befriend them. She was just that kind of person."

Zerebny is survived by her husband, a Riverside County Sheriff's deputy, and her 4-month-old baby daughter.

A GoFundMe page has been started to help support Zerebny's husband and family.

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