The man suspected of murdering Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer is a documented gang member who was arrested and released from jail twice in the last few months, law enforcement sources told KFI NEWS.
Michael C. Mejia, 26, was sentenced to state prison for a robbery in 2010 or 2011, according to court records.
He was paroled, then arrested and sentenced for grand theft auto, authorities said.
Mejia was released from prison as a non-violent offender in April, 2016, and since then, has been arrested at least five times for a variety of probation violations.
After the last two arrests in October and January, jail records show he served fewer than 10 days on so-called, “flash,” incarcerations.
Mejia was arrested Monday morning after he was wounded in a shootout with the Whittier officers.
Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said they planned to book Mejia on a murder charge once Mejia was released from a hospital.
Flash incarcerations were developed as a result of AB-109, the prison realignment program that shifted many state inmates into county jails and replaced state parole supervision with county probation offices.
Flash stays, usually 10 days or less, were supposed to punish parolees and probationers for violations so few would be returned to state prison.
Police officers have complained for years criminals have been taking advantage of the leniency.
On Monday Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper said AB-109 was one of several unique California justice experiments that’s backfired.
“We need to wake up. Enough is enough. You’re passing these propositions, you’re creating these laws that is raising crime,” he told reporters after announcing Officer Boyer’s death.
—Eric Leonard (@LeonardFiles)