The city of Palm Desert is giving $10,000 to the families of the two Palm Springs officers gunned down nearly a week ago while answering a domestic disturbance call.
The City Council unanimously approved the donation to the Palm Springs Police Officers Association, as proposed by Mayor Bob Spiegel, during Thursday’s meeting when the city also presented the Palm Springs police with a proclamation.
Killed on Oct. 8 were Officer Jose “Gil” Vega, a 35-year veteran, husband and father of eight, and Officer Lesley Zerebny, a 1 ½-year veteran, wife of a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy and mother of a 4-month-old daughter.
A public memorial service for both officers is being held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
A third officer whose name has not been released is recovering from injuries suffered during the shooting.
According to authorities, suspected assailant, John Hernandez Felix, 26, of Palm Springs, opened fire on the officers with an assault rifle and ammunition that could penetrate body armor.
Felix was arraigned Thursday at Larson Justice Center in Indio where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, illegal possession of an assault weapon and possession of a stolen firearm. Enhancements have also been filed on the two murder and three attempted murder charges, making him eligible for the death penalty if the district attorney chooses.
Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik read and presented the proclamation declaring Oct. 13, 2016, as a day of remembrance commemorating Vega and Zerebny to Palm Springs police Capt. Walter Combs.
“We express our gratitude for the selfless public servants who wear the badge and put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe, and we pay respect for those who lost their lives in the line of duty,” Harnik read.
In accepting the proclamation, Combs asked for a moment of silence in honor of the two officers.
“The city of Palm Springs is overwhelmed with the support received from all over the Coachella Valley,” Combs said. “We love everyone for all of the outpouring of support.”