The Latest: Suspect in slaying may have been high on drugs

LOS ANGELES (AP) " The Latest on the shooting of two California police officers as they responded to a traffic accident (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Investigators suspect the man accused of killing a California police officer and wounding another may have been high on drugs during the shooting.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. John Corina tells The Associated Press Tuesday that investigators are testing Michael Christopher Mejia's blood. He says witnesses reported Mejia appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

Mejia is suspected in the slaying of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. A second officer, Patrick Hazell, was wounded in Monday's shooting.

Investigators believe Mejia killed his cousin before stealing the victim's car and then rear-ending another vehicle in Whittier Monday morning.

Authorities say the 26-year-old is a member of the Winter Gardens street gang who had recently served 10 days in jail for a probation violation.

It wasn't immediately clear if Mejia had an attorney who could comment.


4 p.m.

A spokesman for the California prison system says recent criminal justice reform measures had no impact on the length of a previous prison sentence of a man now accused of fatally shooting a police officer and injuring another on Monday

Michael Christopher Mejia was identified Tuesday as the suspect responsible for the slaying of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. A second officer, Patrick Hazell, was wounded.

Prison officials say Mejia had served time in prison for robbery and auto theft charges and was released on probation in April under a reform measure known as Assembly Bill 109 that allows some offenders to be released on probation instead of parole.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Jeffrey Callison said Tuesday the measure did not impact when Mejia was released from state prison.

On Monday, Whittier police Chief Jeff Piper criticized the initiative and other measures, saying they were "laws that are raising crimes."


2 p.m.

Authorities have identified a suspect they say fatally shot a California police officer and injured another as the officers responded to a traffic accident.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department identified the suspect Tuesday as Michael Christopher Mejia

Authorities say the 26-year-old is a known gang member who was recently released from jail.

They say Mejia killed his cousin, 47-year-old Roy Torres, and then stole his car before he rear-ended another car in Whittier on Monday.

When officers arrived to the crash scene, investigators said Mejia pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Officer Keith Boyer, a 27-year veteran of the department, was killed. Another officer, Officer Patrick Hazell, was wounded.

The officers shot back, and Mejia was wounded. He remained hospitalized Tuesday.

It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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