An LAPD officer was killed and his partner seriously wounded in a hit-and-run collision in the Harbor City area on Saturday, the third deadly crash involving a Los Angeles officer in two months.
At the time of the incident. the officers were making a U-turn to follow a car which was traveling at high speed in the opposite direction. They were hit in a deadly side-on collision by an SUV which fled the scene.
Roberto Sanchez was the 32-year-old LAPD officer who lost his life in the collision; he had been with the Harbor Area force for around six years. His partner was reported to be in a critical but stable condition at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on Saturday, and is expected to survive.
Unfortunately, Sanchez is the third LAPD officer to be killed this year. Back in March, a police officer was killed in Beverly Hills in a collision involving a truck; in April a motorcycle cop died after being hit by a drunk driver.
Los Angeles police investigators are still trying to determine the circumstances leading up to Saturday’s collision.
In a news conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that many important questions are still unanswered. “Only two individuals know exactly what the officers were doing,” he said. “One is severely injured. The other one is deceased.”
It is not yet clear whether the police car had its lights or sirens on at the time of the crash, or whether drugs or alcohol were involved as a factor in the collision. The police vehicle was so badly damaged that it was inoperable following the crash and the officer who survived needed to alert authorities via his cellphone.
A spokesman for the LAPD talked about a man who police apprehended after the collision: “We’re trying to ascertain his involvement in the situation. It’s really tough,” he said.
Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen said in a statement: “This is a hard time for the LAPD family having lost two dedicated and well-liked officers in the last 24 hours.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti also spoke about the tragedy: “Officer Sanchez died a hero, but that does not lessen the blow to his family and fellow officers. This third loss of an officer in the line of duty in just two months is a stark and tragic reminder of the dangers our first responders face every day.”