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Latest: Official: Police focus on gang in officer’s death

July 27, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the fatal shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

An official says Los Angeles police Officer Juan Diaz was out with his girlfriend when he was shot and killed at a taco stand early Saturday.

The official, who had been briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly, tells The Associated Press on Saturday that Diaz was standing in line at the food truck with his girlfriend and two other males when he noticed a man vandalizing something nearby and approached him. The official did not know if Diaz identified himself as a police officer.

The man left the area, returned with a group of other males and started shooting.

The source said police believe the gunman is a member of the Avenues gang, which is now the focus of the department’s investigation.

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11:10 a.m.

Authorities have released the identity of the off-duty Los Angeles police officer who was killed early Saturday.

The Los Angeles Police Department says on Twitter that he was Officer Juan Diaz.

Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala said a civilian flagged down a motorcycle officer around 1 a.m. Saturday and reported shots fired in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood. Two men had been shot.

Diaz died and the other man was hospitalized in unknown condition.

Chief Michel Moore asked for the public’s help finding the gunman.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Beatrice Girmala is the assistant chief, not the acting police chief

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8:50 a.m.

Los Angeles police are investigating the fatal shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer.

Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala said at around 1 a.m. Saturday a civilian flagged down a motorcycle officer and reported shots fired in the city’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood. The officer found two men had been shot.

The off-duty officer died from his wounds and the other man was hospitalized in unknown condition.

In a tweet, Mayor Eric Garcetti called it a senseless murder and a “reminder of the dangers that officers face every moment they wear the badge.”

Chief Michel Moore asked for the public’s help finding the killer.

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