SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — Authorities have identified two persons of interest in the deadly hit-and-run crash that killed an LAPD officer and critically injured his partner.
Officer Roberto Sanchez, 32, was killed just before 4 a.m. Saturday in a crash on Anaheim Street in Harbor City.
Police said they have questioned one person of interest, but declined to identify the connection between the possible suspects and the accident.
Both individuals were arrested on charges that are said to be unrelated to the traffic incident. One suspect was arrested for parole violation, the other was allegedly arrested for providing false information to a police officer.
“The department, but especially the division is hurting, because these officers build relationships with each other, they know each others’ families,” LAPD Capt. Gerald Woodyard said.
Sanchez, a six-year veteran of the force, and his partner, Officer Richard Medina, were on routine patrol when they began following a white Chevy Camaro that was allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed.
“They followed that vehicle for a short distance. That vehicle made a U-turn and our officers subsequently made a U-turn. When they made that U-turn, the police vehicle was collided into by a Chevy Tahoe,” said Cmdr. Andrew Smith.
Sanchez and Medina were transported to Harbor UCLA Medical Center, where Sanchez died.
Medina suffered numerous injuries, including a broken jaw. He was released from the hospital Monday morning.
“The driver of the SUV involved in the traffic collision fled the scene. Further investigation identified a person who is believed to be associated with the incident,” the LAPD said.
Saturday’s fatal accident marked the third death of an LAPD police officer since March.
“There’s a sense of numbness that comes to you, and you wonder, when is this going to end,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said.