Tuesday marks the three-year anniversary of the shooting deaths of Palm Springs police officers Jose “Gil” Vega and Lesley Zerebny, who will be honored with a memorial ceremony at Palm Springs Police Department headquarters.
The memorial ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. at Palm Springs police’s Memorial Plaza, which bears the names of Vega and Zerebny, the first Palm Springs police officers killed in the line of duty since Jan. 1, 1962.
Vega, 63, was killed just months before he was set to retire after three decades of service. Zerebny, 27, had been with the department for 18 months and had just returned to duty following maternity leave, having given birth to a daughter, Cora, four months earlier.
Tuesday’s ceremony is open to the public at large.
Their killer, John Hernandez Felix, 29, was sentenced to death earlier this year. Felix fired on the officers through the front door of his family’s Palm Springs home with an AR-15 rifle. Vega, Zerebny, and a third officer who was struck in the leg, were responding to a domestic disturbance call in the residence.
A jury convicted him of the murders of Vega and Zerebny, as well as the attempted murders of six other Palm Springs officers who responded to the scene.
That same jury recommended the death penalty for Felix after less than two hours of deliberations, which Riverside County Superior Court Judge Anthony Villalobos upheld that recommendation in August.