Keith W. Boyer, who had been a California police officer for nearly 30 years, was gunned down at an accident scene by a gang member.
When police officers respond to calls on the road, often they don’t know what to expect. Most end up being routine situations that are easily handled and they can simply move on to the next. But, this isn’t always the case. Keith W. Boyer, who had been a California police officer for nearly 30 years, was gunned down on Monday by a gang member recently released from prison. The gang member, who had gotten into a car accident in Whittier, California, about 17 miles south east of Los Angeles, immediately opened fire and the officer was killed instantly. A second officer who had responded to the scene, Patrick Hazel, has been with the Whittier Police Department for just three years and was also wounded, but is in stable condition and is expected to survive. He has yet to be released from the hospital.
The suspect was injured at the scene and is in intensive care, according to police. Officers state the accident occurred first Monday morning at 8:30AM. The two officers responded, thinking they were going to file a report and go on with their day. They ordered the driver from the vehicle. Then, suspicious of gang related tattoos on his face and neck, and “gang” affiliated clothing, they decided to check for a weapon. The man initially seemed to comply. He turned around, and as the officers began to pat him down, he whipped out his gun and opened fire.
It turns out, the suspect, who was indeed a member of a local gang, had stolen the car involved in the scene of the wreck from the east side of Los Angeles, and had been also been involved in a fatal shooting in that area. The suspect had been released from prison just one week prior and was out on parole. He obviously wasn’t ready to make a fresh start, and had immediately resumed his criminal ways. Unfortunately, this was all unbeknownst to the two responding officers at the time of the pat down, and was only discovered after the shooting.
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper said in an interview, “I can honestly say on behalf of all the officers, [Boyer] was the best of the best. Our community knows him, and they would say the same thing.” He found it difficult to hold back tears.
Boyer was a divorced father of two who had been close to retirement. The chief had been playing in a band with Boyer, a drummer, for some time. Boyer would talk about the plans he had for after he left the force he’d been with for a few decades, starting as a dispatcher and climbing his was up to officer status. However, “Keith was very humble,” Piper said of his character.
Boyer’s death marked the first the Whittier police department had seen in nearly 40 years. His demise comes at a time where there seems to be an increase in fatal shootings involving officers. Boyer’s is one of at least five officer fatalities that have been reported already this year.