For those of you living outside of the Southern California area you may not have heard about the two Long Beach police officers who were shot last week during a traffic stop:
The officers, Abe Yap, 37, a nine-year veteran, and Roy Wade Jr., 39, who started on the force three weeks before the shooting, were in critical but stable condition at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Gomez said.
"Their condition remains the same," Gomez said.
The two were shot through the front windshield of their patrol car Friday afternoon on Long Beach Boulevard at Sixth Street after stopping a white Nissan Pathfinder for running a red light.
Gallegos jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire, police allege.
Wade suffered four gunshot wounds to his chest and neck area above his bullet-proof vest and Yap was shot once, with the bullet entering his lip line and exiting his cheek, police said. Wade was the more seriously injured of the two.
The Pathfinder was found Friday evening parked at 250 Elm Ave., a few blocks away, police said.
Now some good news to report. Both officers are in stable condition and the suspect, Oscar Gabriel Gallegos:
is now dead:
Surrounded by cops, his body riddled with bullets, Oscar Gabriel Gallegos clutched his .40-caliber Glock and prepared for what he surely knew would be the last seconds of his life.
With a laser sight attached to his semi-automatic gun and two ammunition clips in his pocket, Gallegos wasn’t going without a fight.
Within a minute, he’d be dead, shot 15 times in the parking lot of a strip mall on a busy Santa Ana street, but not before unleashing a hail of gunfire on police for the third time in a week.
"He wasn’t going to give up," said Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters on Thursday. "He was either gonna kill them or be killed, and fortunately, he was the one who was killed."
So ended the manhunt for a 33-year-old ex-convict suspected of shooting and seriously injuring two Long Beach police officers Dec. 22 during a traffic stop near downtown, then shooting again at police moments later as they raced to the aid of their injured colleagues.
Investigators received the break they needed Wednesday when Gallegos was tracked to Santa Ana, where he had apparently been laying low since the shooting in Long Beach.
Acting on information provided by an informant, undercover Long Beach officers traced Gallegos to the Santa Ana strip mall shortly before 5 p.m., where they watched from a distance as he stopped at El Taco Vaquero, a small restaurant in the 200 block of East Warner Avenue.
Gallegos placed an order for two burritos before making his way toward a small market a few doors away, said El Taco Vaquero owner Griselda Padilla.
Padilla also said Gallegos visited the restaurant several times before Wednesday because he had relatives who lived one street away.
As Gallegos was preoccupied, detectives contacted Santa Ana police, who dispatched a team of three elite SWAT officers to make the arrest.
As they prepared to confront him, a small team of Santa Ana officers checked their weapons and slipped into protective gear. They hoped the manhunt would end peacefully and Gallegos would surrender, Walters said.
It didn’t happen that way.
At 5:10 p.m., as Santa Ana police swooped into the parking lot in a marked car, Gallegos immediately opened fire, hitting their car with several rounds as officers bailed out, Walters said.
A few doors away at Stacy’s Fashion, owner Angelica Carillo said she was on the telephone when she saw Gallegos walk past her store before hearing a heated argument and sharp bursts of gunfire. She dove for the ground, she said through an interpreter.
El Taco Vaquero’s employees either ducked or ran toward the back of the kitchen, Padilla said, while four doors away, two employees and a customer at a hair salon ran to a back room.
The first volley narrowly missed police, one bullet piercing a door just inches from where an officer sat.
After ducking shots, police took refuge behind an unoccupied white van in the lot, where they positioned themselves for the remainder of the ensuing gunbattle.
Police fired from three directions, hitting Gallegos several times. But still he wouldn’t go down.
In the brief ordeal, the man Long Beach Police Chief Anthony Batts described as "evil," appeared hell-bent on maiming or killing a cop.
"Even after he was wounded and went down, he was on his hands and knees still shooting," Walters said.
It would take several more shots before Gallegos was stopped.
When Carillo peeked over her store counter, she said she saw Gallegos’ inert body on the ground, a bullet hole in the back of his head.
And the kicker? He was an illegal immigrant who had been deported THREE times in the past:
Gallegos, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was deported at least three times, the last one occurring in 1996, according to immigration officials.
Described by police as a "known local thug," his criminal record includes arrests and convictions for a firearms violation, selling or transporting narcotics, among others.
He was last deported in 1996 but since then has been arrested on weapons and drug charges. Our immigration laws at work folks…..ain’t it great!