Two police officers were killed and one was wounded in a shooting in Palm Springs on Saturday, according to a source familiar with the incident.
Dozens of police massed outside a house where a suspect appeared to be holed up. Officers took defensive positions behind a patrol car and a concrete wall.
Police were searching for a shooter or shooters in the area of Cypress and Del Lago roads and encouraged residents to stay indoors.
At 3:15 p.m., multiple officers in tactical gear were taking cover behind a four-foot wall. Several other officers stood close by an armored vehicle parked on Cypress Road a block south of Francis Road.
Witnesses said they heard between 10 and 20 gunshots from what sounded like machine guns. Over a dozen patrol cars, three fire engines and a SWAT truck were at the scene of the incident at 2 p.m.
Palm Springs police and San Jacinto police were on scene.
Palm Springs Mayor Rob Moon, while walking out of the emergency room where the officers were taken, said, “It’s probably the worst day of my life.” Moon declined to elaborate, citing the upcoming press conference.
Frances Serrano, who lives directly across the street from where the shooting took place, spoke to the father of the suspected shooter moments before the incident. The father told Serrano that his son, who has mental issues, had a gun and wanted to shoot police officers.
“He came over and asked for help,” she said.
Serrano called the police and the father walked back toward his house. Soon after, Serrano heard gunshots. Later police knocked on Serrano’s door.
At 2:45 p.m., Serrano said two officers were on her front patio kneeling on the ground with rifles pointed at the shooter’s house.
Gerardo Barrera was working nearby in the quiet residential zone when he heard gun shots. “I saw a person on the ground,” he said. “Someone kept pumping her chest but she wasn’t moving.”
He said police arrived right away.
“It sounded like fireworks at first,” said Juan Garciano, who lives a block from the scene. “I came out of the house and saw police start to block the roads.”
Neighbor Luis Velasquez said he had been outside with his family having a yard sale when gunfire erupted.
“It’s usually a really, really quiet neighborhood,” Velasquez said. “You always hear of these things going on in Riverside and L.A., New York, things like that. But you never think that it would happen here, your own neighborhood.”
The Desert Sun has reporters at the scene. This is an ongoing investigation. Please check back for updates as they become available.