While police have yet to release any information about the gun used to kill two Palm Springs police officers and injure one Saturday afternoon, any firearm owned by suspect John Felix would have been illegal in California due to his felon status.
Felix, who investigators said was "no stranger to the justice system" in a Sunday press conference, was sentenced to four years in prison after he was part of an unsuccessful murder plot in 2009, according to court documents. He eventually pleaded guilty to felony assault with a firearm and connection to a street gang.
As a felon, Felix would have been prohibited from owning or possessing any kind of gun or ammunition, according to California law.
The items Felix had with him when he was taken into custody were also illegal for him to possess.
When Felix was finally arrested after a 12-hour standoff early Sunday morning, Chief Deputy Ray Wood with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said he was not carrying a weapon, but was clad in "soft body armor" and had with him high-capacity magazines.
Sheriff's department spokesman Deputy Mike Vasquez later clarified that the body armor Felix was wearing was a bullet proof vest, which are illegal for felons to buy or possess.
While any kind of ammunition would be illegal in Felix's hands, California legislators have recently taken action to further ban high-capacity magazines, which are classified as any magazine that holds 10 or more rounds.
The legality of high-capacity magazines is currently in flux in California.
Since 2000, it has been illegal in the state to buy, sell, manufacture or gift high-capacity magazines, but people who already owned them were allowed to keep them. In November, California residents will vote on Proposition 63, which would remove this exemption and make any possession of these magazines illegal.
Felix is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of two counts of murder of a police officer, one count of attempted murder of a police officer and various special circumstances in regards to his discussion. Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said Sunday that Felix would be eligible for the death penalty, but that his office had yet to determine if they would pursue it.
Felix is due to appear in court on Wednesday or Thursday.
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