An admitted gang member told detectives he "smoked" a Whittier police officer and his own cousin and "shot another cop," according to a tape-recorded interview played in court Thursday during a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial for the killings.
"I guess you guys have everything down — smoked my cousin, smoked the cop. ... I mean, what else do you guys want? I shot another cop," Michael Christopher Mejia said in the interview.
Mejia, 26, is charged with murder for the Feb. 20 killings of Officer Keith Boyer, 53, in Whittier and his own cousin, 47-year-old Roy Torres, in East Los Angeles earlier that day.
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The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties, murder for the purpose of avoiding arrest and multiple murders.
"I did it, I mean, I did it ... both of 'em, all three of them had it coming," Mejia said in the Feb. 28 interview, telling detectives that the "officer got too aggressive with me."
Boyer — the first Whittier officer killed in the line of duty in 37 years — was fatally shot when he responded shortly after 8 a.m. Feb. 20 to a report of a traffic collision near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street in which Mejia had allegedly been involved.
Mejia allegedly pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and fired at Boyer as well as Officer Patrick Hazell, who was shot in the abdomen but survived. Mejia was shot in the back during the shootout.
He told detectives in the interview he was trying to flee after the crash, but "the cops came right behind me, within two minutes."
He noted that the arriving officers did not have their guns drawn when they approached.
"I delayed it. I should have smoked 'em quicker," he said.
Asked by detectives if he had anything to say to the Whittier Police Department, Mejia said, "I mean, train your guys better. Train your guys better. They just got a taste of an L.A. gang member, real L.A. gang member. You know what I mean? And, nope, I don't feel sorry."
He said the officer who survived the shooting was lucky to be alive.
"He's lucky or he would have been in a casket," Mejia said in the interview.
In the taped interview, which was conducted in a jail medical ward, Mejia admits that he did drugs the morning of the shootings, but knew what he was doing. He admitted being a gang member and said he understands "he is probably getting washed up" and will "probably" get the death penalty.
But he later says he expects to eventually get out of prison.
"I'm gonna walk out them gates one day ... and I'm gonna change one day," he said. "I might be 50, 35, 40. But I'm gonna walk out them prison gates one day. And I'm gonna change."
Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty against Mejia, who is also charged with one count each of attempted murder of a peace officer, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon with two prior convictions — second-degree robbery in 2010 and grand theft auto in 2014.
The charges include allegations that Mejia personally and intentionally discharged a handgun and that he committed the crimes "for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang."
About 5:30 that morning, Mejia allegedly gunned down his cousin and took the victim's car, which he crashed into two other vehicles in Whittier.
Thousands of law enforcement officers, friends and family members attended Boyer's funeral on March 3. He was remembered as a dedicated public servant who had been with the police department for 27 years, a talented drummer, loving friend and even a "goofy" father of three adult children.
Whittier police Chief Jeff Piper broke down in tears as he concluded his remarks at Boyer's funeral at Calvary Chapel Downey.
"Keith's memory will live forever in the halls of our department and in the minds of everyone who knew him, for you see Keith was a hero, and they say heroes never die, they live forever," the police chief said.
Mejia had recently been released from jail. Piper and Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell have both suggested that Mejia was back on the streets due to recent voter-approved propositions that reduce criminal penalties and allow for early release of inmates. Los Angeles County began investigating parole and probation records for Mejia after his arrest in February.