Monterey Park police killing: Suspect appears in court; arraignment delayed

The 20-year-old suspect, accused of fatally shooting an off-duty Monterey Park police officer earlier this week during an attempted robbery outside an LA Fitness gym in Downey, made his first court appearance Thursday and was ordered to remain in jail without bail pending his arraignment scheduled for September 8.

Carlos Delcid faces charges of murder, attempted robbery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The murder charge includes a special-circumstance allegation of murder during a robbery, and District Attorney George Gascón said Delcid is facing a possible sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Delcid was arrested hours after the Monday night shooting that killed 26-year-old rookie Officer Gardiel Solorio.

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A 17-year-old suspect who was allegedly driving the getaway car was also arrested, Gascón said. According to the District Attorney's Office, the unidentified teen was charged with a single count of murder in Compton Juvenile Court. On Thursday, the teen denied the petition -- the equivalent of a not-guilty plea in adult court, according to prosecutors. He is due back in court Sept. 14.

Authorities said Delcid ambushed Solorio in the parking lot of a Downey LA Fitness in an attempted robbery. When Solorio tried to escape in his Dodge Charger, he was shot five times. Delcid got into a getaway car driven by the 17-year-old suspect.

Critics said Delcid should have been behind bars from a prior criminal case. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, LAPD arrested Delcid on February 10th, 2022, for spousal assault, burglary, intimidating/tampering with a witness, false imprisonment, and assault. Due to a plea negotiation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney dropped three of the five felony charges. 

On March 10, 2022, Delcid was sentenced to 4 years of formal probation and 180 days in county jail, with a credit for 58 days served. 

"It was the District Attorney’s decision to drop the serious, violent felony charges that would have rendered the suspect ineligible for early release," the sheriff's department said in a statement. 

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Critics said if Gascón had allowed prosecutors to file a sentencing enhancement for the use of a knife in the case, Delcid may not have gotten such a lenient sentence and might still have been behind bars.

Solorio is survived by his parents, brothers, sisters and fiancée.

Solorio had joined the department as a recruit in January, but only graduated from the sheriff's training academy on July 22, and began his field training on July 25.

"We all knew from the moment we met him that he had the heart of service and was going to be a great officer," MPPD Chief Kelly Gordon said. "And I could tell that from the moment he walked in and did our first introductions in my office. The family and department are grieving right now, and this is an especially difficult tragedy. It's a senseless act of violence. He was only 26 years old. I don't know about all of you, but I have children that age. So to me this is particularly difficult." 

Friends of Solorio said he dreamed of being a policeman since he was a child. 

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"He was living his dream. Why would someone kill him outside the gym?" a friend said.

His family has started a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.

City News Service contributed to this report.