San Antonio Police announce arrest in
San Antonio Police announced Monday the arrest of a man suspected of targeting and killing a 50-year-old police officer.
Otis Tyrone McKane, 31, was arrested around 4:30 p.m. while riding with a woman and a 2-year-old child in a car on Interstate 10, Chief William McManus said.
“This is the person’s whose image we saw on surveillance,” McManus said at a press conference. “This is also the person we believe is responsible for the cold and calculated murder of Detective Marconi.”
Detective Benjamin Marconi, a 20-year veteran of the department, was shot to death while writing a traffic ticket outside of police headquarters Sunday.
Police have identified Otis Tyrone McKane as the suspect in the fatal shooting of SAPD detective Benjamin Marconi. https://t.co/9zo0AO3kZD pic.twitter.com/EKDKHyeQw8
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) November 21, 2016
The department released footage of a man seen inside police headquarters four hours before the shooting and video of a car leaving the scene, CNN-affiliate KPRC reported. McManus, who said he believed Marconi was targeted because he was a police officer, told reporters that he doesn’t believe McKane has any relationship to the driver pulled over before the shooting, CNN-affiliate KRIS reported.
McKane was kept under surveillance for several hours before a SWAT team made the arrest without injuries, McManus said. The woman he was with was driving at the time of the arrest, he said.
Police have located the black Mitsubishi Galant seen leaving the shooting scene and are processing it for evidence, McManus said. Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshal deputies and FBI agents assisted in the investigation, the chief said.
“The motive for the capital murder is still unknown,” McManus told reporters. “This is very much an ongoing investigation.”
The killing happened a few minutes before noon on Sunday. Officer Marconi pulled over a driver on the south side of the police station. He returned to his patrol car to write a ticket.
That’s when a man pulled up behind him.
The man walked up to the patrol car driver’s side window and shot the officer in the head, McManus said. The man then reached through the open window and shot him a second time, McManus said.
After the shooting, the man returned to his vehicle and drove away.
Chief: Attack resembles ambushes in Dallas,
McManus likened the shooting to the fatal ambushes of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earlier this year.
In July, sniper Micah Xavier Johnson killed five officers who attempted to protect activists that were marching in Dallas following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men killed by police this summer. It was the deadliest single incident for US law enforcement since September 11, 2001.
Later that month, Iraq veteran Gavin Long fatally shot three officers in Baton Rouge in an ambush attack.
Police are investigating motive in this case, including a possible connection to a shooting Sunday morning in Dallas involving an officer, McManus said.
“Unfortunately, like Dallas, like Baton Rouge, it’s happened here,” he said.
It wasn’t the only ambush attack on Sunday: A police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, was wounded in an ambush shooting but is expected to survive.
“It’s always difficult, especially in this day and age where police are being targeted across the county,” McManus added.
Murder, Attempted Murder Charges Filed in
Ambush Shootings of Palm Springs Officers
Palm Springs, CA – Murder and attempted murder charges were filed Wednesday morning against a man who was armed with an assault rifle when he allegedly opened fire on Palm Springs police officers as they responded to a domestic disturbance call.
Prosecutors announced the charges Wednesday against John Felix, 26. He was arrested following a standoff after the shooting deaths Saturday of longtime officer Jose “Gil” Gilbert Vega, 63, and a rookie member of the force, 27-year-old Lesley Zerebny. Other felony charges also were filed, including three attempted murder charges stemming from allegations that the suspect tried to gun down other officers.
One of those three officers suffered a gunshot wound and was released from the hospital earlier this week.
Felix also faces charges of unlawfully possessing an assault weapon, being a felon in possession of an assault weapon, unlawfully possessing ammunition and possessing stolen property — the weapon used in the shooting.
Felix used an assault rifle with armor-piercing rounds to kill the two officers who were responding to a domestic disturbance call at the California home of the suspect’s family, authorities said Tuesday. The officers were wearing ballistic vests as required when they are in uniform and on duty.
“This individual wanted to kill police officers,” said Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin. “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. That’s the motive, he wanted to gun down police officers because they wore the uniform.
Felix was prohibited from legally possessing firearms because of a prior felony conviction, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. Felix served 18 months of a four-year sentence for assault with a gun in connection with a 2009 gang shooting. He was paroled in 2011, according to state records.
“There’s an element in our society that’s bent on killing police officers because they represent law and order,” Hestrin said. “I think it’s time that everybody in law enforcement and the public spoke up against that. It’s time we acknowledge that our police officers are the only thing, only people keeping us safe on the streets. The kind of sacrifice and commitment they give day in and day out, we ought to be thanking those people patrolling our streets to keep us safe.”
Police officers arriving at the Palm Springs home on Saturday were told by a relative that Felix had a weapon, later determined to be the assault rifle. Officers spoke with Felix through a metal screen door before he opened fire without warning, the statement said.
Authorities declined to release a 911 recording alerting police about a problem or say who made the call.
The standoff lasted about 12 hours before Feliz was taken into custody outside the home.
The charges could land Felix on death row, but the district attorney said no decision has been reached on what penalty prosecutors plan to seek.
“We go about gathering evidence that’s used in that determination, and that includes everything. We want to know everything there is to know about this individual — his background, where he grew up, everything,” said Hestrin. “And so, it’s an exhaustive investigation. So we’re not ready to make that decision, however, I will be making that decision within three weeks.”
In an interview with NBC4 earlier this week, Zerebny’s parents said they would like to seek prosecutors pursue the death penalty.
Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.
Vega was a 35-year veteran of the force who was preparing to retire soon. Zerebny had been with the department about 18 months and her husband is a sheriff’s deputy. The couple has a 4-month old daughter.
Zerebny’s father also was a law enforcement veteran who served for 30 years with the California Highway Patrol. He pinned his daughter’s badge on her uniform at a ceremony when she joined the Palm Springs Police Department.
A public memorial is scheduled for Oct. 18 in the desert resort town of 45,000 people about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
Palm Springs had not lost an officer in the line of duty since 1962, when Officer Lyle Wayne Larrabee died during a vehicle pursuit. Officer Gale Gene Eldridge was fatally shot Jan. 18, 1961, while investigating an armed robbery.
Dallas Vigil Monday Night, President to Visit
“It is not my tears you see, it is the Sweat of Our Protectors as they labor Thanklessly to keep Our streets safe, it is the Blood of Our Protectors as they shield us from the onslaught of ones that care only for themselves, it is the Tears of Our Protectors as the hateful, evil words from the uncaring cut deeply into their hearts.”
~ Robert StrongBow ~
Hundreds of people gathered Monday evening outside Dallas City Hall for a candlelight vigil in memory of the five police officers killed last Thursday by a gunman.
The vigil included remarks by Dallas Police Chief David Brown, DART Police Chief J.D. Spiller and Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston.
Euless police officer moved to Texas for safety,
public support, friends say
EULESS, TX – Senior police officer David Hofer’s Facebook page is filled with photos of his fiancee, Marta Danylyk, showing the young couple’s excitement at a promising future.
Those dreams ended in gunfire Tuesday afternoon at J.A. Carr Park in Euless.
On Wednesday, several Euless officers wiped away tears as they talked with fellow officers in the department parking lot about their slain comrade, who had been with the department about two years.
“David truly enjoyed helping people and led with a servant’s heart,” Lt. Wayne Pavlik said in an email. Pavlik commands the patrol division where Hofer, 29, worked in Euless.
“If you had the fortunate opportunity to meet him, you would have found him to be a very warm and cheerful individual who would go out of his way to help anyone,” Pavlik wrote.
Hofer was a New York City officer from 2009 to 2014 in Manhattan’s 9th Precinct.
“Amongst all this sadness, something I think, is that if he had to go, this is how he would have wanted it to happen — honorably.”
David Hofer’s friend Jesse Barocas
A friend who had known him since the fourth grade said Hofer’s police beat included Union Square, where he dealt with dicey situations.
Jesse Barocas, 28, of Brooklyn, N.Y., said Hofer told him he didn’t think the people in New York respected their police officers as much as the people in Texas did.
“He felt it was safer in Texas,” Barocas said by phone Wednesday night. “He felt the community rallied around police officers more.”
So Hofer moved to Texas with his girlfriend, Danylyk, to whom he had recently proposed. They had just finished building a house in Plano and were encouraging his New York friends to visit.
Hofer was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon by a man who was then gunned down by other Euless officers.
“He felt it was safer in Texas. He felt the community rallied around police officers more.”
“He was a wonderful child, a wonderful police officer,” his mother, Sofija Hofer, told the New York Post Tuesday. Hofer moved to Texas to be an officer in a safer place, she said.
Sofija Hofer told a Star-Telegram reporter that she was in “no shape to give interviews or talk” Wednesday evening.
Hofer’s Facebook page, still up on Wednesday, has a photo of the officer on one knee, proposing to Danylyk in January 2015. Another photo shows him enjoying food at a festival with Danylyk in June 2014.
Pavlik called Hofer an exceptional police officer, person and friend to everyone in the Police Department and the community.
He had received eight commendation letters as a patrol officer.
“David had outstanding investigative and people skills, was extremely intuitive, and was an officer who exemplified our profession,” the lieutenant said.
His mother told the Post that Hofer had wanted to be a police officer since he was a boy. “He was so brave,” his mother told the Post, saying he wanted to write a book about his NYPD experience.
“Amongst all this sadness, something I think, is that if he had to go, this is how he would have wanted it to happen — honorably,” Barocas said. “He understood the risk, he signed up for it, he lived it, he owned it and he believed in it.
“In a time where there is so much tension between the police and the public — this was a good one. He lived and breathed the brothers in blue.”
Hofer was the son of European immigrants, graduated from St. Ann’s High School in Brooklyn and earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University in 2008.
Another friend, Mark Baker, 35, an electrician in Brooklyn, said he never expected to hear that Hofer had been killed in Texas.
“To hear this happened in Texas,” Baker said with a sigh over the phone Wednesday night. “That’s something I would have expected to hear happened here” in New York.
Within hours of Hofer’s death, officers from New York’s 9th Precinct had sent condolences via Twitter.
Officers killed in Tarrant County in line of duty since 2001
March 1, 2016: Euless officer David Hofer, 29, was fatally shot during a gunfight in a neighborhood park.
Dec. 28, 2010: Arlington officer Jillian Michelle Smith was shot in the head after arriving at an apartment to take a domestic dispute report.
Jan. 13, 2010: Arlington officer Craig Gordon Story died after his motorcycle crashed into a school bus on South Cooper Street while he was attempting to pull over a speeding motorist.
Dec. 17, 2006: Fort Worth officer Dwayne Freeto’s patrol car was rear-ended and burst into flames on Interstate 35W.
Dec. 1, 2005: Fort Worth officer Henry “Hank” Nava died two days after he was shot while searching for a fugitive.
July 29, 2004: River Oaks officer Nathan Laurie was killed in a collision while chasing a stolen pickup truck.
June 18, 2004: Grand Prairie officer Gregory Hunter was killed and officer Bruce Seix was wounded by a man in a parked van during a standoff in a Grand Prairie Wal-Mart parking lot.
June 12, 2004: Grapevine officer Darren Medlin was hit and killed by a car at the scene of a traffic stop on Texas 121.
April 24, 2002: White Settlement police Capt. George Scott Monier, 37, was shot and killed when he responded to a domestic disturbance call involving a gun.
June 7, 2001: Arlington police Cpl. Joseph Cushman, 27, was accidentally shot and killed during training.
Compiled by news researcher Cathy Belcher from the Officer Down Memorial Page, http://www.odmp.org and the Star-Telegram archives