VIDEO: Man Charged with Murder in Killings of Palm Springs Officers
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin announced Wednesday morning that 26-year-old John Felix of Palm Springs had formally been charged on Wednesday in the deaths of officers Jose Vega and Lesley Zerebny.
Hestrin said Felix was charged with two counts of murder with special circumstances, three counts of attempted murder, unlawfully possessing an assault weapon, unlawfully possessing a weapon after being convicted of a felony, unlawfully possessing ammunition after being convicted of a felony and possessing stolen weapons.
"This individual wanted to kill police officers. He armed himself with a weapon to kill police officers. He put on a vest so that he would be protected, so that he could kill police officers," Hestrin said. "That's the motive. He wanted to gun down police officers because they wore the uniform."
Felix had previous convictions for active gang membership and activity, Hestrin stated. The stolen weapon was an AR-15, according to the district attorney's office.
Authorities said Felix would be eligible for the death penalty. Hestrin said his office would make the determination on whether his office will seek the death penalty within three weeks.
"He attacked these officers for no reason other than that they were officers coming to a call," Hestrin said. "He knew what he was doing and he did it very deliberately and on purpose and he prepared to do what he did."
Investigators said officers were responding to a family disturbance call on Saturday when Felix opened fire from inside his home, killing Vega and Zerebny.
"I would describe this as an ambush," Hestrin said. "These police officers walked into a trap, an ambush, and that this individual set out specifically to kill police officers."