DOWNEY (CNS) – Two men were charged with capital murder today, bringing to three the number of defendants accused in the shooting death of a Downey police officer killed during an apparent botched robbery as he sat in his personal vehicle in a parking lot near the police station.
Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, were both being held without bail and were due to appear at the Downey courthouse this afternoon along with a 16-year-old Bellflower boy who was previously charged as an adult with the murder of Officer Ricardo Galvez.
Abel Diaz, who will turn 17 at the end of this week, appeared in a courtroom in Downey Friday and was ordered to be held in lieu of $1 million bail pending his arraignment, which was rescheduled to today. If convicted of the murder charge, Diaz could face up to life in state prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The amended complaint includes the special circumstance allegation that the murder occurred during an attempted robbery.
Each of the three defendants is also facing one count of attempted second-degree robbery and gang and gun allegations.
Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty against Knott and Alvarez. Diaz is not eligible for the death penalty because of his age.
Galvez, 29, was fatally shot about 11 p. m. last Wednesday while sitting in his BMW 335, clad in street clothes, in a public civic center parking lot adjacent to the Downey police station in the 11000 block of Brookshire Avenue.
The five-year department veteran died at the scene. The teen and two young men under arrest are considered the only suspects in the Galvez killing. Alvarez, the alleged getaway driver, was taken into custody following a police pursuit that ended in the 1000 block of Carob Way in Montebello soon after the shooting.
He was caught by officers as he tried to run through the backyards of some homes. Authorities said the other two suspects were seen fleeing into a nearby home and taken into custody by members of a sheriff’s special weapons team after warrants were obtained.
Outside the Downey courthouse last Friday, Diaz’s sister said her brother told her he did not shoot Galvez. Maricela Alvarado showed reporters a text message Diaz sent her at 11:18 p. m. Wednesday, about 20 minutes after the shooting. ”Mari I love all y’all,” the message read. “My homie (expletive) up n did something.”
Investigators believe the suspects were out to rob someone and were unaware that Galvez was a police officer or that they were in a rear parking lot of the police station, sheriff’s Lt. John Corina told reporters Thursday at police headquarters.
A handgun allegedly discarded by one of the suspects was recovered. Investigators believe it was used to kill Galvez, according to the sheriff’s department. Downey police said Galvez was on duty and returning to the police station from a training program during which he acted as a K-9 agitator. Corina said a Downey police officer in his patrol vehicle heard the shooting and chased the suspect vehicle into Montebello, where the suspects bailed out.
At the same time, another Downey officer came outside and found the fatally wounded officer. Referring to Galvez as `”Ricky,” Downey police Chief Carl Charles described the officer as “a tremendous young man, who loved serving the residents of Downey.” Downey police spokesman Lt. Mark McDaniel said Galvez is survived by his mother, a brother, and two sisters. Galvez was in the U. S. Marine Corps prior to becoming a police officer, serving two tours of duty, one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan.
Arraignment has been postponed until Dec. 17 for the three people charged in the killing of Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez. All three suspects are being held without bail.
Funeral arrangements were announced today, with a viewing scheduled for Sunday and the funeral planned for a week from today. The rosary and viewing will be held between 5:30 and 8 p. m. Sunday at the Downey Civic Theatre, 8435 Firestone Blvd. Doors will open at 5 p. m. The funeral service will be held next Monday at 9 a. m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., in downtown Los Angeles. A gravesite salute, with full police honors, will be held immediately following the funeral service at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, 3888 Workman Mill Road.