No arrests have been made as authorities continue their investigation into a hit-and-run crash that left a veteran Los Angeles police officer dead in Harbor City on Saturday.
Officer Roberto Sanchez, 32, was pursuing a white Chevrolet Camaro when the patrol car that he and his partner were riding in was broadsided by an SUV, officials said. Police said the occupants of the SUV ran away after the crash, but one of them was later apprehended and questioned.
A person of interest was being held in connection with the wreck, LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith said. No arrests had been made as of Sunday evening. Smith said a person of interest cannot be held in police custody indefinitely. Charges must be filed.
Sanchez, who was critically injured in the crash, later died at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
On Sunday, flowers and candles were left at the crash site in memory of Sanchez. At Harbor Division station, flags remained at half staff, and inside, colleagues wrote messages of condolences on the fallen officer’s locker. Officers from other stations stepped in to handle patrol duties while other Harbor Division officers grieved.
Officers in mourning wore black bands over their badges.
"Californians will not forget Officer Sanchez’s service to his community and the sacrifice of the family he’s left behind,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.
Sanchez’s partner and best friend, Officer Richard Medina, suffered serious injuries, including a broken jaw, but was in stable condition and expected to survive. Colleagues said he was in good spirits.
Juan Campos, a Harbor City resident, was the first person to help the officers at the crash site
"I asked (Medina if) he was OK, he said, 'Yeah," Campos said. "I asked him, 'How's your partner?' He was like, 'I don't know, you tell me.'"
Sanchez and Medina, who were best friends, met when they began their careers in law enforcement at the police academy, a colleague said.
The fatal wreck marks the third time this year that an LAPD officer has been killed in a traffic collision. Officers Nicholas Lee died in March and motorcycle officer Chris Cortijo was killed in a wreck in April.