Two Montebello men each face decades in state prison after pleading guilty Monday to murder and a series of other charges for fatally shooting a Downey Police Department officer in the parking lot of the police station amid a spate of robberies and other violent crimes in 2015, officials said.
Steven Knott, 22, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 25, both of Montebello, both pleaded guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court to charges related to the seven-victim string of crimes that culminated with the deadly shooting of 29-year-old Officer Ricardo “Ricky” Galvez on Nov. 18, 2015, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Galvez, a former U.S. Marine and five-year veteran of the Downey Police Department, was shot during an attempted robbery as he sat in his car, dressed in plain clothes, in a parking lot outside of the police station, investigators and prosecutors said. Knott and Alvarez were arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives the following day.
Knott admitted to a count of first-degree murder and attempted robbery, along with the special allegation that he personally used a firearm in the crime in connection with Galvez’s killing, district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement. Alvarez pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree murder for the crime.
Additionally, both men admitted to a series of charges related to a list of other crimes that took place between October and November of 2015, prosecutors said. They include shooting at an inhabited dwelling in South Gate on Sept. 17, 2015; an attempted murder in Montebello on Oct. 15, 2015; as well as a street robbery in Paramount and a takeover robbery at a Bellflower cellphone store on Nov. 18, 2015, in the hours leading up to the attack on Galvez.
Knott and Alvarez also admitted to special allegations that the crimes were gang-related and that they involved firearms.
Both men were scheduled to return to court April 17. Knott faces up to 50 years to life in state prison, while Alvarez faces up to 30 years to life behind bars.
A third defendant in the case, Abel Diaz of Bellflower, was 16 years old at the time of the killing.
He was initially charged as an adult alongside Knott and Alvarez, but his case was referred back to juvenile court following the passage of California’s Proposition 57 in 2016.
A deal was then brokered in late 2018, in which Diaz admitted his role in the killing. He is now scheduled to be released from juvenile detention before he turns 25 years old, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.