DOWNEY – The three men being held in connection with the fatal shooting of Downey police officer Ricardo “Ricky” Galvez appeared briefly in court on Monday as prosecutors formally charged each one with attempted robbery and murder.
While inside a Downey courtroom, a judge postponed arraignment for 17-year-old Abel Diaz of Bellflower and brothers Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, who will return to court on Dec. 17 to face one count of attempted second-degree robbery and one count of murder under special circumstances.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said the defendants are being held without bail and that each could also be charged with gun and gang allegations.
If convicted, Alvarez and Knott could receive the death penalty, however, due to age, Diaz will face up to life in state prison.
Galvez, a five-year veteran of the Downey Police Department, had just completed his shift when the suspects walked up and opened fire on him last Wednesday night as he sat in the driver’s seat of his own car adjacent to police headquarters.
“Galvez was wearing plain clothes and they were looking for someone to rob,” said L.A. County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina last Thursday. “I don’t think they realized they were behind a police station.”
Hearing the gunfire, a nearby Downey police officer on patrol pursued the suspects’ Nissan sedan into Montebello where the three males fled on foot.
Police captured one suspect shortly after the shooting, but an all-night chase ensued to find the other two, prompting evacuations of nearby apartments and townhomes near Carob Way and Washington Boulevard. Police were also able to recover a handgun, which they believe is the murder weapon.
Galvez, 29, was a Marine reservist, who served two tours overseas. Although he worked as a field patrol officer, the Downey Police Department confirmed he was training to become a K-9 officer the night he was ambushed.
Since Galvez’s death, Downey residents have left a mountain of cards, flowers, and candles in front of the Downey Police Department’s bronze memorial just outside its headquarters. A growing tribute also rests several feet away on the very parking space where Galvez was killed.
“I was standing to the front of the station reflecting on what happened to Ricky, when all of a sudden the whole Downey High football team came to pay their respects,” said Downey Police Department Corporal Mike Pope. “The whole team donned their black jerseys in honor of the PD and for Ricky. Just another moment of our community coming together as one.”
Longing to pay respect to fallen officer Galvez, many residents replaced their typically white porch lights with blue bulbs while Downey homeowner Michael Chirco spelled out “I love my Downey Police Department” in giant letters on top of his roof.
“We are in the flight path of commercial airliners, news helicopters, sheriff helicopters,” said Chirco. “What a great cheap way to send out a message that we support our PD. This week the nation saw the tragedy in Downey, let’s show them the love.”
On Monday, Downey Police Chief Carl Charles announced a public rosary service and viewing for Galvez from 5:30-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29 inside the Downey Civic Theatre. Doors will open at 5 p.m.
Galvez’s funeral service will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. He will then be buried with full police honors during a graveside service at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.
Hoping to support the family of officer Galvez, the Downey Federal Credit Union has established a memorial fund. Contact Mike Pope, president of Downey Police Officers Association, at (562) 904-2308 or the credit union at (562) 862-8141 for more details.