Families and friends of fallen police Officers Jose ‘Gil’ Vega and Lesley Zerebny sat in the Indio courtroom just behind John Hernandez Felix the man accused of murdering their loved ones.
They sobbed as images of their autopsies were shown on a large monitor as Riverside County Coroner Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Mark Fajardo described their injuries.
He said the AR 15 rifle coupled with the bullets used caused a wide area of destruction.
Fajardo says Officer Zerebny suffered gunshot and shrapnel wounds to her thigh hip and back, he says the mortal wound was the large bullet wound to her back, “It hit both of her lungs and the heart itself.”
He said this caused her to die almost instantly, “She’s only got a matter of seconds to survive.”
Fajardo then was asked about Officer Vega’s injuries.
He said he suffered extensive damage to the face saying the impact was so strong it caused a bad concussion, and brain bleed, he initially thought shrapnel penetrated his skull.
He said Officer Vega had too many injuries to the face to count but estimated there were anywhere from 75 to 100 shrapnel wounds mostly to the left side of his face.
He said his mortal wound was one to the top of the shoulder, “Even though it grazed his left lung, it pretty much destroyed it,” adding this injury could have been survivable but clearly it was not.
Earlier crime scene investigators described what sounded like the aftermath of a war zone: a neighborhood littered with spent bullet casings, cars and homes struck with bullets and blood stained sidewalks.
Felix showed zero emotion and held his head down the entire time. His attorney, John Patrick Dolan asked an investigator how many of the spent bullet casings came from the guns of officers. The answer was over 100.