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Three Police Officers Shot In Palm Springs, Massive Manhunt Underway [Updated]
Three officers with the Palm Springs Police Department were shot Saturday afternoon, and a manhunt for the shooting suspect is underway. While their conditions are not yet known, The Desert Sun reports that two of the officers had died, though those reports have yet to be confirmed.
According to the Sun, witnesses told police they heard between 10 and 20 gunshots from "what sounded like machine guns" just after 1 p.m., near Sunrise Racquet Club on Sunrise Way. Shortly thereafter, more than a dozen patrol cars, three fire engines and a SWAT team began looking for the suspect, blocking off streets.
The police presence here is larger than any I've seen in Palm Springs, but cops on the perimeter seem calm. Armored car going in. pic.twitter.com/ouPJSuW2Zn
— Brett Kelman (@TDSbrettkelman) October 8, 2016
As of 3:15 p.m., "multiple officers in tactical gear" were holding defensive positions behind a four-foot concrete wall, in case the shooter was still near by.
L.A. Times reports that one of the officers was responding to a burglary call when the shooting began.
Andres Jimenez, Maria Rodriguez and their two sons watch the police activity down the street. pic.twitter.com/1NaLvygPqL— Gabby Ferreira (@Its_GabbyF) October 8, 2016
The Sun interviewed Frances Serrano, who reportedly spoke to the suspected shooter's father "moments before the incident." Serrano was told that the suspect has mental issues, "had a gun and wanted to shoot cops." She also said that she called the police after the father came over and asked her for help. After he left, she heard gunshots.
As NBC L.A. notes, this is an "active scene" and that some residents were evacuated, while others in the area are advised to stay inside and lock their doors.
We'll be sure to update this post as we get more information.
Update, 4:31 p.m.: The Press Enterprise is also reporting that two of the officers have died, per a tweet from the Palm Springs Police Officer's Association, the union body that represents the police department. But the department itself has yet to release an official statement on the condition of the officers shot, and a link to a blog post from the Palm Springs POA was met with an error page.
Update, 4:48 p.m.: KTLA tweeted out some unconfirmed details regarding two of the officers, who they also report have died:
Update: Two officers dead after Palm Springs shooting; one was 35-year veteran, second had just returned to work after giving birth— KTLA (@KTLA) October 8, 2016
Update, 5:01 p.m.: CNN is reporting that the Palm Springs Police Department confirmed that two officers were shot, and identified them as Jose Gilbert Vega, who had been on the force for 35 years and was working an overtime shift, and Lesley Zerebny, 27, who had given birth to a baby four months ago.
#DEVELOPING: Pictures of the two Palm Springs Police Officers killed in shooting today. Jose Gilbert Vega & Lesley Zerebny. pic.twitter.com/YYARUflxE8— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) October 9, 2016
Police chief Bryan Reyes also said that police have surrounded a house they believe the shooting suspect may be inside, but this has not yet been confirmed.
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