Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of two California police officers

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Oct 9 (Reuters) - Police arrested a suspect early on Sunday in the fatal shooting of two officers and the wounding of a third in Palm Springs, California, after an hours-long standoff that began with a report of a family dispute.

John Felix, 26, was taken into custody just after midnight at the home in Palm Springs where the officers were shot on Saturday afternoon.

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Police officers shot in Palm Springs
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Police officers shot in Palm Springs
Palm Springs Police Department photo shows officer Lesley Zerebny, killed while on duty in Palm Springs, California, U.S. on October 8, 2016. Courtesy Palm Springs Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Palm Springs Police Department photo shows officer Jose Vega, killed while on duty in Palm Springs, California, U.S. on October 8, 2016. Courtesy Palm Springs Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Palm Springs Police officers salute as the bodies of two officers who were shot by a suspect earlier in the day in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Hearses carry the bodies of two slain Palm Springs Police Department officers in a procession to the county coroner in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Members of the Palm Springs Fire Department salute as the cortege passes, led by the bodies of two officers who were shot by a suspect earlier in the day in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Family and friends of two slain Palm Springs Police Department officers board a bus to join a procession to the county coroner in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
A hearse carries the body of one of two slain Palm Springs Police Department officers in a procession to the county coroner in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Members of the Palm Springs Fire Department salute as the cortege passes, led by the bodies of two officers who were shot by a suspect earlier in the day in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Police officers are shown near their armored vehicles during a standoff where three officers were shot by a suspect in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Police officers from various agencies are shown at their command center during a standoff where three officers were shot by a suspect in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
Armed police officers are shown during a standoff where three officers were shot by a suspect in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
A Palm Springs police officer returns to his car during a standoff where three officers were shot by a suspect in Palm Springs, California, U.S. October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich
A police car is parked near the Islamic Society of Palm Springs in Coachella, California on December 11, 2015, after the area was sealed off when a fire broke out at the mosque. Authorities in California have launched a probe after a fire broke out at a mosque in California, officials said. A spokeswoman for the Riverside County Fire Department told AFP that firefighters had rushed to the Islamic Society of Palm Springs shortly after smoke and flames were seen coming out of the building at around noon. AFP PHOTO/ GUILLAUME MEYER / AFP / Guillaume Meyer (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
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Four officers came under fire soon after arriving at the residence in response to a call from a woman who said her son was causing a disturbance, police said.

Two police officers, Jose Vega, a 35-year veteran, and Lesley Zerebny, 27, were killed, and another officer, who authorities declined to identify, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Felix was treated at a hospital after his arrest. He will be booked on two counts of murder, according to a police press release.

"It was a simple family disturbance and he elected to open fire on a few of the guardians of this city," Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes said at a news conference on Saturday.

After the shooting, dozens of police rushed to the scene in a residential neighborhood of Palm Springs, a desert town 105 miles east of Los Angeles.

Backed by an armored vehicle, officers in tactical gear set up positions outside the home where the suspect had barricaded himself and continued to fire shots.

Residents in adjacent homes were evacuated and local media later showed robots being deployed in the area.

A neighbor, Juan Graciano, 67, said on Saturday that he heard angry shouting between a father and son who live at the residence before the older man emerged from the home, crossed the street and asked another neighbor to call for help. (Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Bill Trott)


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