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LAPD Chief Beck expresses condolences for fallen CHP officers

Highway and Road DisastersLaw EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeLaws and LegislationLos Angeles Police DepartmentJerry Brown

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck began Tuesday's Police Commission meeting talking not about Los Angeles but about the kinship his department feels with the two California Highway Patrol officers who were killed in a crash south of Fresno.

"Loss of any law enforcement is tragic," Beck said, adding that the department has offered its "condolences and strong feelings of support" to the CHP.

Beck also said that LAPD officers would be wearing black mourning bands until their CHP counterparts were laid to rest.

CHP officers Juan Gonzalez and Brian Law were killed Monday when their patrol car careened into a guardrail south of Fresno.

A spokeswoman for the Fresno County coroner said they were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Their exact cause of death could be released as early as Tuesday.

Authorities said Gonzalez and Law, both good friends and colleagues, were responding to a radio call about 6 a.m. Monday describing a collision on northbound California 99.

They were driving south from Fresno and as they approached the scene near Kingsburg, the officers discovered that the collision was actually on their side of the freeway, blocking lanes, with a pedestrian out of one of the vehicles, CHP officials said.

"The officers took evasive action to avoid striking any of the parties from the previous collision, lost control of the vehicle, struck the guardrail and severely crashed," said CHP Capt. Dave Paris.

In response to the deaths, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a directive saying flags at the state capitol would be flown at half-staff.

"We join all Californians in honoring these officers for their courage, commitment and service," Brown said.

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