A 36-year-old suspected motorcycle gang member was charged Thursday with capital murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a Pomona SWAT officer.
David Martinez of San Gabriel appeared in court in downtown Los Angeles Thursday, when his arraignment was postponed to Nov. 13. He is accused of killing Officer Shaun Diamond, a 19-year law enforcement veteran.
Martinez allegedly fired on Diamond as the officer entered a home in San Gabriel about 4 a.m. Tuesday. Diamond, 45, died at a Pasadena hospital Wednesday.
Diamond was the first to enter the door of the San Marino Avenue home while serving a search warrant as part of a multi-agency operation targeting the Mongols motorcycle gang, the DA’s office said. The officer was struck above his bullet-proof vest, possibly in the back of the head as a result of a ricochet, police chief Paul J. Capraro said Tuesday.
Martinez, described by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office as a “suspected Mongols motorcycle gang member,” was charged with one count of murder with the special circumstance of murder of a police officer engaged in his duties, and with gun and gang allegations.
At a brief court appearance in downtown Los Angeles, Martinez's attorney, Tom Medrano, alleged that his client was being held naked in jail. Martinez wore a yellow jail jumpsuit at the hearing.
Prosecutors asked that he be held without bail. They will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against him, according to the DA's office.
Martinez has an extensive criminal record, including assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which was investigating.
The Mongols Motorcycle Club, of which Martinez is a suspected member, was founded in 1969 in Montebello, according to its website. Its members ride chopped Harley-Davidsons.
The U.S. Department of Justice has labeled the organization an "extremely violent outlaw motorcycle gang" whose members include former Latino street gang members.
Martinez's wife, parents and two children were at the home at the time of shooting, Medrano said outside the court hearing Thursday. The suspect's father underwent surgery on his arm for an injury sustained during the incident, Medrano said.
Diamond, a father of two, had previously worked for the Los Angeles and Montebello police departments.
His mother said he had served as an altar boy and a lifeguard before becoming a police officer. Diamond donated a kidney to his son seven years ago, mother Joy Diamond said.
The Pomona Police Officers' Association was accepting donations on behalf of Diamond's family. Details are in the Police Department's announcement.
Funeral services for Diamond were tentatively set for Nov. 6.
Clarification: This post has been updated to reflect Diamond's 19 years in law enforcement. The DA's office provided a different figure that was corrected later in the day Thursday.