Gang member who shot, killed Whittier cop arraignment delayed

- Thursday's scheduled arraignment for a reputed gang member who was wounded the day he was arrested on suspicion of capital murder for allegedly killing a Whittier police officer and his own cousin has been cancelled for medical reasons, the District Attorney's office reported.

No new arraignment date was immediately announced for Michael Christopher Mejia, who was charged Wednesday with the Feb. 20 murders of Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer after he responded to a traffic crash in
which Mejia was involved, and the defendant's 47-year-old cousin, Roy Torres, who was shot in East Los Angeles earlier that day.

The murder charges include the special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties, murder for the purpose of avoiding arrest and multiple murders.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty for the 26-year-old defendant, who is also facing one count each of attempted murder of a peace officer, carjacking and
possession of a firearm by a felon with two priors.

The charges include allegations that Mejia personally and intentionally discharged a handgun and that he committed the crimes "for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang.''

Mejia -- who has convictions for second-degree robbery in 2010 and grand theft auto in 2014 -- is scheduled to be arraigned at the Bellflower courthouse this morning, when he will be asked how he pleads.

Boyer, 53, was killed in a gun battle after responding to a report of a traffic collision near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street shortly after 8 a.m.

Mejia allegedly pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and fired at Boyer as well as Officer Patrick Hazell, who was shot in the abdomen but survived. Mejia was shot in the back during the shootout.

About 5:30 that morning, Mejia allegedly gunned down his cousin and took the victim's car, which he crashed into two other vehicles in Whittier, according to the District Attorney's Office.

A public viewing for Boyer is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today at Whittier Area Community Church, 8100 Colima Road. Boyer, a grandfather, musician and school resource officer, had been with the police department for 27 years.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Calvary Chapel Downey, 12808 Woodruff Ave. Following the service, a procession will carry Boyer's body to Rose Hills Memorial Park at 3888 Workman Mill Road in Whittier for a graveside service.

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