Riverside DA Will Seek Death Penalty Against Man Accused of Killing 2 Palm Springs Police Officers

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it will be seeking the death penalty against a man who has been charged in connection with killing two Palm Springs Police officers earlier this month.

John Hernandez Felix appears at his arraignment in Indio on Oct. 13, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

John Hernandez Felix appears at his arraignment in Indio on Oct. 13, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

John Hernandez Felix, 26, faces two counts of murder, the murder of a law enforcement officer and lying in wait in connection with the shooting deaths of Jose “Gil” Vega, 63, and Lesley Zerebny, 27.

Felix has also been charged with three counts of attempted murder on three other Palm Springs police officers, as well as special allegations that he possessed armor-piercing ammunition, wore a body vest and unlawfully possessed weapons and ammunition while being a convicted felon, officials said.

DA officials said in a news release that Felix, described as a “self-admired” gang member, “ambushed” the officers on Oct. 8.

Photos of slain officers Jose Gilbert Vega, left, and Lesley Zerebny were released by the Palm Springs Police Department on Oct. 8, 2016.

Photos of slain officers Jose Gilbert Vega, left, and Lesley Zerebny were released by the Palm Springs Police Department on Oct. 8, 2016.

“This was a heinous crime involving the murders of two police officers who were gunned down simply because they were police officers,” District Attorney Mike Hestrin said in a news release.

“The victims in this case were responding to a call for service and died in the line of duty protecting our community.”

Vega was set to retire from the force in December, and Zerebny had just returned to service after having a baby.