WHITTIER — A Southern California man who shot a man and then killed a police officer and wounded another in Los Angeles suburb was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder and other crimes.
Michael Mejia, 30, could face life in prison without possibility of parole for the 2017 killings. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón opposes the death penalty and his office decided earlier this year not to pursue it for Mejia.
Majia’s attorney said the gang member and parolee was on drugs when he shot and killed Roy Torres, 47, in East Los Angeles on Feb. 20, 2017.
Prosecutors said Mejia stole Torres’s car and then crashed it in nearby Whittier.
When Whittier police responded to the accident report, prosecutors said Mejia opened fire, killing Officer Keith Boyer and wounding another officer before he was wounded.
Boyer, 53, was the first Whittier police officer killed in the line of duty since 1979.
“This is a first step toward justice for the families,” said Whittier Police Chief Aviv Bar, who was among about 60 officers watching the proceedings from an overflow room, according to the Whittier Daily News.
Mejia later confessed the killings to homicide detectives, authorities said.