Three suspects in the killing of police officer Juan José Díaz have been apprehended and arrested, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Friday morning.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities served several warrants earlier this morning in connection to the fatal shooting the 24-year-old officer, who was off-duty when he was shot and killed at a taco stand in Lincoln Heights early Saturday.

According to the LA Times, the individuals were arrested in Riverside, Murrieta, and Temula. The suspects were later identified by the LAPD as Francisco Talamantes, 23, Cristian Facundo, 20, and Ashylnn Smith, 18.

The three, who according to police are all residents of Temecula, were booked on suspicion of murder with a gang allegation and are currently being held without bail.

According to news reports, Díaz was with his girlfriend and her two brothers waiting in line at a taco stand near Avenue 26 and Humboldt Street early Saturday morning when he saw a person tagging a nearby wall. The Times reported that moments after confronting the tagger, a group of men approached Díaz and his companions with threats.

The paper cited an unnamed source who said one of the suspects claimed allegiance to the Avenues gang and lifted his shirt to reveal a gun. As the group rushed to their car, the gunman opened fire and killed Díax and wounded one of his girlfriend’s brothers.

A source close to the police investigation told the Times the suspects are members of the Avenues gang.

Earlier this week, the Boyle Heights Beat interviewed a Bravo High School teacher and longtime friend of Díaz who described him as a “kind and respectful” youth and “an extremely charmind lad” who was overjoyed when he was accepted into the Police Academy.

Díaz joined the force in 2017 and was assigned to the Special Operations Division, which conducts investigations into department personnel. He had only served two years on the force at the time of his death.

The officer’s family will receive mourners from 6 to 11 PM on Aug. 11th at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. The following morning, a 9 AM memorial mass is to be held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Díaz will be buried at Forest Lawn immediately following the service.

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Alex Medina

Alex Medina is a graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and 2018 alumnus of the Boyle Heights Beat. He is a recent graduate of Hamilton College in Central New York where he majored in Hispanic...

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