Police officer killed while responding to traffic stop

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LOS ANGELES, CA (KTLA) -- The officer killed in a shootout Monday in Whittier has been identified as Officer Keith Boyer, a longtime member of the Whittier Police Department, officials announced.

Boyer was hired by the department in 1989 as hired as a dispatcher, jailer and reserve before becoming a patrol officer. and was recently talking about retirement, Chief Jeff Piper said at an emotional news conference Monday afternoon. Boyer's death is the first for the department since late 1970s.

"He was the best of the best," Piper said. "He was a personal friend of mine for over 25 years."

Boyer was fatally wounded around 8:30 a.m. in the area of Colima Road and Mar Vista Street in Whittier while responding to a traffic accident, the Sheriff's Department said in a news release. Another officer and the suspect were also injured in the shooting, sheriff's Lt. John Corina said at the news conference.

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Officer Keith Boyer killed in shootout

Whittier Police Department officer Keith Boyer, is shown in this handout photo in Whittier, California, U.S., released February 20, 2017.

(Courtesy Whittier Police Department/Handout via REUTERS)

A fallen Whittier police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty was honored during a procession… https://t.co/qoAbanr6jk
.@whittierpd chief teared up as he described death of his longtime friend, Officer Keith Boyer, killed in shootout… https://t.co/UF4agUcJYm
One officer dead, another injured in shootout after report of traffic collision in Whittier https://t.co/ASjBzln9Hz https://t.co/lvJrbqhjeJ
UPDATE: Whittier officer killed in shootout ID'd as Keith Boyer. WATCH LIVE news conference: https://t.co/KKBPJ6KP6l https://t.co/8ywlGC55nv
Law enforcement procession for slain Whittier officer arrives at coroner's office https://t.co/gCyCY6X8R2 https://t.co/cHogkpL1X9
Slain Whittier police officer honored with procession https://t.co/MAW0whCwJt https://t.co/DNPbt0QcU9
Whittier Police investigating an Officer Involved Shooting in the area of Colima Rd./Mar Vista St., please use alte… https://t.co/uZCbyX6fs6
#BREAKING: Three people, including two Whittier police officers, have been wounded by gunfire… https://t.co/imaqQhaZSY
Memorial for Whittier Police Department officer killed in line of duty. Awaiting news conference with police chief… https://t.co/6N7eAlCUvA
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"It's extremely tragic," Corina said. "You've got a couple officers who just responded to a traffic accident, and they think they're there to help out people involved in a traffic accident. Next thing they know, they got this guy shooting at them. He shoots both of them and kills one of them."

Corina said the suspect, who is only being identified as a 26 year-old man, was allegedly driving a stolen car and may be involved in a killing that happened early Monday in East L.A.

The suspect is believed to have been released on parole within the past two weeks, though Corina did not know why he had been serving time.

Piper had a strong message to the community of Whittier, surrounding areas and the state as a whole.

"We need to wake up. Enough is enough. You're passing these propositions, you're creating these laws that are raising crimes. It's not good for our communities and it's not good for our officers," Piper said. "What you have today is an example of that. We need to pull our head out of the sand and realize what we are doing to our community and to our officer's who give their life like Officer Boyer did today."

Boyer was a well-respected officer in the Whittier community, both personally and professionally.

"He was respected for his many years of experience and younger officers looked to him for advice and guidance," Piper said.

Boyer is survived by his adult children, Piper said. He was in a band and played the drums.

The second officer injured, who was hired by Whittier police three years ago, was listed in stable condition, Corina said.

The suspect was also in stable condition.

The shooting remains under investigation, and anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Those who would like provide a tip anonymously are asked to contact Crime Stoppers by dialing 800-222-8477, or by visiting the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

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