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Hero Down: Monterey Park Police Officer Gardiel Solorio Murdered By Gunman In Mall Parking Lot

Downey, CA – Monterey Park Police Department (MPPD) Officer Gardiel Solorio was fatally shot in the parking lot of a bustling shopping center on Monday afternoon.

The 26-year-old officer was off-duty at the time, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The incident occurred outside the Downey Landing mall located at 12070 Lakewood Boulevard at approximately 3:25 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Downey police were called to the scene for a report of gunfire and located the wounded officer.

Investigators said it appeared Officer Solorio was inside or near a black Dodge Charger when the attack occurred, KABC reported.

He was shot multiple times, KTTV reported.

The wounded hero was provided with first aid, but he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A motive for the attack and specific circumstances regarding what transpired in the parking lot remained under investigation on Monday night, KABC reported.

The number of possible suspects and their identities were not immediately released, but police confirmed on Wednesday that they had made arrests in the case, according to KABC.

Monterey Park Police Chief Kelly Gordon said during a press conference on Tuesday that Officer Solorio grew up in Bell Gardens and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at California State University prior to joining the department as a recruit in January, KABC reported.

He had just graduated from the law enforcement academy on July 22, and began his field training three days later, according to KTTV.

“He really wanted to make an impact on the community,” Chief Gordon said, according to KABC. “His classmates shared that Officer Solorio had all the characteristics of a great officer. He was humble, dedicated, selfless and hardworking, but even a better person.”

The chief said Officer Solorio’s friends and family “described him as tough as nails,” but that he was still “a kid at heart.”

Officer Solorio was the youngest of 13 children, according to a fundraising campaign established to help his family in the wake of their loss.

He is survived by his fiancé, parents, and siblings, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“His dream of becoming a police officer after years of hard work and dedication had finally come to fruition, when life was abruptly taken away due to a senseless act of violence,” the fundraising page read. “He was taken from his family way too soon. He was and has always been true American success story. He was a first generation college graduate, and the first [in] his family to become police [officer] and brother in law Enforcement.”

Donors have contributed more than $15,000 to the fund so far.

Officer Solorio’s friend, Gabriel Ortega, said everyone who knew him “knew he was destined for bigger things,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“You couldn’t not love the guy,” Ortega added. “He was proud of the work he was doing. He was really excited… It’s just a tragedy that his life was taken so short.”

A procession of law enforcement vehicles escorted the slain officer’s body from the mall parking lot to the coroner’s office shortly before 11 p.m. on Monday, KABC reported.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Monterey Park Police Department Officer Gardiel Solorio, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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