Lincoln Heights -- An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was killed and a second person injured in a shooting early this morning, and the shooter remains at large, the LAPD said.
A civilian flagged down a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer shortly before 1 a.m. to report a shooting in the area of Avenue 26 and Humboldt Street. One victim, the off-duty officer, was pronounced dead at the scene and the second victim was taken to a hospital in unknown condition, according to Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala.
The officer was identified as Juan Jose Diaz, according to a statement from Mayor Garcetti's office. Diaz was last assigned to the LAPD's Professional Standards Bureau. Police have yet to release Diaz's age, but he was believed to be in his 20s. Postings on Facebook indicate that Diaz was a 2014 graduate of Bravo Medical Magnet High School in Boyle Heights.
Police have not officially released an account of what happened. However the L.A. Times reports the shooting took place at a taco stand, where the officer was with his girlfriend when they were confronted by a group of suspects who threatened them. Associated Press and other media outlets said Diaz was in line to buy tacos and was shot after confronting a tagger. KTLA says Diaz lived in Cypress Park, about a mile west of the shooting.
"Our hearts are with Officer Diaz's family and friends," said Garcetti in a statement.
A description of the shooter was not disclosed but various media accounts said police are focusing their attention on the Avenues gang.
Numerous LAPD vehicles were part of a procession this morning that transported Diaz' body to the county coroner's office about a 1-1/2 from the crime scene.
The California Highway Patrol closed the Avenue 26 offramp from the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway and several nearby streets were also blocked during the investigation.
This is a procession I never want to be a part of ever again. It is a dark day for @LAPDHQ as we try to make sense of the senseless. The tragic murder of Police Officer II Juan Diaz hangs on every heart of every man and woman of the LAPD. pic.twitter.com/MSr6qHBzhK— Josh Rubenstein (@PDPIOJosh) July 27, 2019