According to The Los Angeles Times, the incident occurred about 8:00 a.m. on Colima Road in the Friendly Hills neighborhood. Officer Boyer and the second Whittier Police Officer had responded to a call of a traffic crash, where the suspect had rear-ended two other vehicles. As they were getting out of their vehicle, the driver of one vehicle pointed to the driver of another vehicle, just a short distance away, and said that he was responsible for the crash.
That driver and now suspect, a known gang member, had asked the other driver and that vehicle’s passengers to help him push his disabled vehicle off to the side of the road around the corner. Police would later learn the vehicle the gang member was driving was stolen.
The gang member, who was known to Whittier Police Officers, was sitting in his vehicle as Officer Boyer and the second Whittier Police Officer approached him. They made contact with him and asked him to step out of the vehicle so they could pat him down for weapons. As they were patting him down for weapons, he opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol on both Whittier Police Officers, and at least one Officer returned fire, according to ABC7. Both officers were wearing their Kevlar vests.
Both Whittier Police Officers were shot, and the suspect was shot. Emergency responders arrived and performed CPR on Officer Boyer. Both officers were transported to the University of California – Irvine Medical Center, where Officer Boyer died. The second Whittier Police Officer is listed in stable condition in Intensive Care. His name has not been released.
Lt. John Corina, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said “Officers respond to a call, and it seems like a simple traffic accident, and the next thing they know they’re in a gunfight.”
A large crowd of police officers gathered at the University of California – Irvine Medical Center, and watched as a motorcade escorted the fallen hero’s body to the Orange County Coroner’s Office. He was a 27-year veteran of the agency. In a Facebook post, his daughter-in-law said that he was a “hero who just wanted to make the world a better, safer place.” Jeff Piper, Whittier Police Chief, said that “he was the best of the best.” An obviously emotional Chief Piper said that he and Officer Boyer had played music together. Chief Piper also said that Officer Boyer was a mentor to many Officers within the department and had recently talked about retiring.
The suspect was transported to County – USC Medical Center. He was described as Hispanic, as a Los Angeles gang member with multiple tattoos including on his neck and head. He is listed in stable condition,and had been released from prison 10 days ago. The suspect was on parole. His name has not been released. Police said that the suspect had killed a man on Sunday morning, February 19, 2017. It is believed that the vehicle that the suspect was driving was stolen at that time. No other details about that incident have been released.
It was the first fatal shooting of a Whittier Police Officer in more than 30 years. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is conducting the investigation.
We send our thoughts and prayers to the family of fallen hero Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer, both blood and blue. Godspeed, sir, we will take it from here. We thank you for your service. We also send our thoughts and prayers to the injured Whittier Police Officer.
Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer, your life mattered.