RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Murder charges were filed Wednesday against a 26-year-old man who allegedly shot and killed two Palm Springs police officers.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin formally announced criminal charges against John Hernandez Felix during a news briefing in downtown Riverside.
According to Hestrin, there is enough evidence for at least two special circumstance allegations — murder of a police officer and committing multiple murders — to be filed along with first-degree murder charges against Felix, which makes him eligible for the death penalty, CBS2’s Randy Paige reported
“This individual wanted to kill police officers,” Hestrin said. “This individual knew what he was doing. His actions were deliberate. He attacked these officers for no other reason than they were there, answering a call for service.”
Other charges filed against Felix include unlawfully possessing an assault weapon after being convicted of a felony, unlawfully possessing ammunition after being convicted of a felony and possessing stolen property, which in this case was an AR-15 style gun.
In front of the Palm Springs police station a memorial of flowers, candles and handwritten notes continues to grow.
Hestrin said Felix had prior charges for a felony assault with a firearm and active street gang activity, which both occurred in 2010.
The district attorney’s office will make a decision on whether to seek the death penalty within two to three weeks.
Felix, who is accused of fatally shooting veteran training Sgt. Jose Gilbert Vega, 63, and rookie Officer Lesley Zerebny, 27, remains jailed without bail.
The deadly shooting unfolded around 1 p.m. Saturday when Vega and Zerebny responded to report of a disturbance at a home located in the 2700 block of Cypress Avenue.
Upon their arrival, the officers spoke to Felix through a metal screen door and told him to step outside.
Authorities said Felix then opened fire “without provocation or warning” on Vega, Zerebny and a third officer.
Vega and Zerebny were transported to a hospital where they later died.
The third officer was wounded during the incident, but was released from the hospital Sunday.
Felix was arrested Sunday following a 12-hour standoff at the home.
He was treated at a hospital for incidental injuries before he was booked into the county jail at Riverside.
The Palm Springs Police Officers Association has established a fund for donations to be split between the Vega and Zerebny families.
A separate GoFundMe page has been set up to help Zerebny’s family with expenses.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)