DOWNEY, Calif. (AP) — Family, friends and California dignitaries plan to mourn a Southern California police officer killed by a recently released gang member while he was investigating a minor car accident.
The services for 53-year-old Whittier Officer Keith Lane Boyer will begin Friday morning with a memorial at Calvary Chapel in Downey followed by a graveside service at Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary in Whittier that's set to include the playing of bagpipes, a 21-gun salute and a plane formation flyover.
Boyer joined the force as a dispatcher in 1989 and became a full-time officer in 1990. The divorced father of two adult sons played drums in an off-duty classic rock tribute band and had recently discussed retiring, according to the chief.
On Feb. 20, he became the first Whittier officer in nearly 40 years to die in the line of duty.
Michael Mejia, 26, is charged with shooting Boyer and his own cousin. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
Prosecutors contend that he killed Roy Torres, 47, in East Los Angeles hours earlier, then stole his car and crashed it into two other vehicles in neighboring Whittier.
When police arrived and ordered the driver out of the car, he allegedly pulled a handgun and shot Boyer, who died at a hospital. Another officer, Patrick Hazell, and Mejia were wounded during the shootout but were expected to survive.
Mejia remained hospitalized and it was unclear whether he had an attorney.
Mejia is a convicted robber and car thief who had been in and out of jail several times since his release from state prison in April. He had spent 10 days in jail for the latest infraction and was released on Feb. 11, about a week before the shooting.
The Whittier Police Department, which patrols the city and neighboring Santa Fe Springs, has had two other officers killed in the line of duty — a detective in 1979 and a corporal in 1977.
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