The booking photo of 26-year-old Michael Christopher Mejia is getting lots of attention online, with the undated mugshot from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department showing Mejia with an imposing face and neck tattoo. Michael is suspected of killing Keith Boyer, an officer out of Whittier, California. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Officer Boyer responded to a traffic accident on Monday, February 20, when Mejia reportedly murdered him.
Mejia, who stands six feet, three inches tall, is getting attention — not only for his renown as a gang member — but also because Mejia had only recently been released from jail when he was suspected of killing Boyer. Mejia previously served time for grand theft auto, robbery, and car theft attempts, and wasn’t released via laws designed to reduce the prison population due to overcrowding.
— Brian Day (@sgvcrime) February 21, 2017
However, Officer Boyer’s death has put the spotlight back on Assembly Bill 109 and Proposition 47. The measures are being blamed for upticks in certain crimes like car thefts, but not necessarily violent crimes. Now an investigation has been called for to determine why Mejia was released from prison. Despite the controversy, prison officials claim that Mejia was not released early, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, at least one of Michael’s family members blamed Mejia’s upbringing for his troubles. Lino Mejia, the suspect’s grandfather, said that he felt Michael might have been spoiled.
“I feel like it was our fault. Maybe we spoiled him.”
Mejia’s criminal convictions are bringing as much buzz online as his face and neck tattoo, with some wondering aloud if Mejia was in the country legally or not. However, prison officials claim that Mejia served his entire prison term as required by law. The buzz around Mejia also surrounds the fact that he had just gotten out of jail on February 11, after Mejia fled from sheriff’s deputies.
With Mejia allegedly committing a murder only days after being released from prison, there’s a serious backlash over the conditions of Mejia’s release. Mejia reportedly dealt with addiction to meth and had been recently using the drug after his most recent release. Mejia is also a suspect in the murder of his own cousin, as well as car theft of the cousin’s vehicle. The 47-year-old Roy Torres, a distant cousin to Mejia, had allegedly gotten into an argument with Mejia potentially about a girlfriend, prior to the officer’s shooting.
According to Heavy, Mejia was himself shot, but he survived the shooting. Boyers’ partner, Officer Patrick Hazell, was also wounded in the shooting and left in stable condition.
The 26-year-old alleged gunman, identified by officials as Michael Christopher Mejia, was wounded in the shootout. https://t.co/Fx7cvIyQKe
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) February 22, 2017
Mejia is receiving feedback like the following on social media, with people giving their opinions about Mejia’s tattoos. Whereas some commentators urge people to look past the face and neck tattoos and ask more questions, others peg the man as a criminal due to his face tattoos.
Michael Mourek: “Why did Michael Mejia (26) become a killer…. WHY? The jail system in America must IMPROVE… 2.3 million people in jail…they are NOT ALL KILLERS…. what happened to Michael Mejia…. WHY did he become a KILLER? Don’t look at all the [tattoos] look right into his eyes.”
Vera Kalila: “That makes me very upset! He was released on parole in the ‘non-violent offender’ program— I have been out of law enforcement for quite a few years now, but taking one look at the perpetrator’s face with all those tattoos—- screams violent gang member!!! — Senseless death of a great policeman!!! RIP.”
Sid Jeter on Mejia’s tattoos: “There is a Facebook post going around suggesting that sometimes the nicest people you meet are covered in tattoos and sometimes the most judgemental people you meet go to church on Sundays. Well I’m one of those judgmental people who go to church on Sunday. I also spent 25 years working in three maximum security California prisons. Folsom, CSP Sac and Pelican Bay. Over the course of my career I have supervised thousands of tattoo clad people. Some were actually very nice.”
[Featured Image by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department /AP Images]