Hundreds of SoCal officers gather to honor slain Downey police officer

Hundreds of uniformed police officers from across Southern California and the country gathered Monday in downtown Los Angeles to honor Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez, who was gunned down during an apparent botched robbery while sitting in his parked car near the Downey police station.

Officers saluted as the casket carrying Galvez's body was escorted into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Inside, colleagues and elected officials alike paid tribute to a man described as an officer who had a true love for his community and wasn't afraid to show it.

"The most profound thing that comes to mind when I think about Ricky is how he embraced love, and lived with his heart on his sleeve,'' fellow Downey police Officer Drew Lofquist said. "He went through the peaks and valleys of life wholeheartedly, and some of us witnessed his tears as he did.''

Downey police Chief Carl Charles said Galvez "left a legacy of love and caring for others,'' while District Attorney Jackie Lacey called him a "guardian'' of the community."

The gathering of officers at the downtown cathedral led to a series of street closures to accommodate the funeral procession. Once the service was completed inside the cathedral, Galvez's body was led to a hearse outside for the trip to Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, where a graveside salute will be held with full police honors.

Galvez, 29, was fatally shot about 11 p.m. Nov. 18 while sitting in his BMW 335, clad in street clothes, in a public civic center parking lot adjacent to the Downey police station in the 11000 block of Brookshire Avenue. The five-year department veteran died at the scene.

Investigators said Galvez was returning to the police station after taking part in a canine training session when he was killed. Three people have been arrested and charged with murder, with police and prosecutors saying the trio were looking to rob someone and were apparently unaware that Galvez was a police officer.

Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, are being held without bail, while Abel Diaz, who turned 17 on Friday but is being prosecuted as an adult, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. In addition to murder, all
three are facing a single count of second-degree robbery, along with gang and gun allegations. The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during an attempted robbery.

Knott and Alvarez face a possible death sentence. Diaz, because of his age, faces a maximum of life in prison without parole. They are all due in court for arraignment Dec. 17.

Alvarez, the alleged getaway driver, was taken into custody following a police pursuit that ended in the 1000 block of Carob Way in Montebello soon after the shooting. He was caught by officers as he tried to run through the backyards of some homes, authorities said.

Authorities said the other two suspects were seen fleeing into a nearby home and taken into custody by members of a sheriff's special weapons team after warrants were obtained.

Downey police spokesman Lt. Mark McDaniel said Galvez is survived by his mother, a brother and two sisters. Galvez was in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to becoming a police officer, serving two tours of duty, one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan.

Copyright 2015 FOX 11 Los Angeles: Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.