Police are searching for a suspect who fatally shot off-duty Monterey Park Police Department officer Gardiel Solorio who was shot and killed outside an LA Fitness gym in Downey on Monday afternoon.
According to Downey Police Department, reports of shots fired came in at around 3:25 p.m., and when paramedics with Downey Fire Department arrived on scene, they found Solorio, 26, sitting unresponsive in his Dodge Charger.
A good Samaritan and paramedics performed CPR on him but he was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.
The shooting took place in the 12700 block of Lakewood Boulevard in the parking lot of the Downey Landing shopping center.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting were still unclear, though investigators disclosed that the officer's car was found to have crashed into another vehicle and that the driver-side window was blown out.
"What I have to say is that the loss of any life is tragic. The loss of this life is especially painful when it's one of your own," said Monterey Park PD Chief Kelly Gordon. "This is all very fresh and we're mourning right now."
In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Monterey Park Police Chief Kelly Gordon confirmed that Solorio was the victim of the shooting.
"Gardiel grew up in the city of Bell Gardens. He was 26 at the time of this senseless tragedy. He was a graduate of Cal State University Los Angeles. He had a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice," Gordon said.
Gordon said Solorio was hired as a police officer recruit on January 31, 2022, graduated from the academy on July 22 and began his field training on July 25.
"Although his time with (the department) was very short, we all knew from the moment we met him that he had the heart of service and was going to be a great officer," 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."
As the investigation continued during its early stages, detectives remained tight-lipped about a possible suspect.
"We can't release too much, we are definitely looking for a suspect right now. There might be multiple suspects," said Downey Police Captain Scott Loughner.
"As time goes on we'll provide more information. Right now our main focus is that the person who did this is brought to justice," said Chief Gordon.
Witnesses were unable to get a good look at the suspect, since he was heavily clothed and wearing both a face covering and a hood.
"We said, 'Can you recognize him?" and they said "No, he had a mask on and a hoodie," said Gerry Williams, who was working out when the shooting occurred, but managed to talk to a witness after it happened. "He said he (the suspect) gets out of the car and sees the guy start shooting."
Sky2 was over the scene as the procession for the fallen officer was taking place, where dozens of fellow first responders led the way as the officer's body was taken to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.
CBS reporters spoke with friends of the fallen officer, who remained unnamed Tuesday afternoon, where they learned that he had an affinity for working out and had always wanted to be a police officer.
"He was just an amazing guy," said Jenny Escobar another friend on Tuesday. "I just can't believe that he's gone. He used to teach us how to workout."
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