Condolences poured in Saturday for Los Angeles Police Department officer Roberto Sanchez as questions lingered about the early-morning automobile collision that killed the 32-year-old policeman and critically injured his patrol partner.
"Once again our hearts are broken," Los Angeles Police Protective League president Tyler Izen said in a statement on behalf of all members of the union representing LAPD officers. "Today the world has lost a true hero."
In Sacramento, Capitol flags flew at half-staff.
"Californians will not forget Officer Sanchez's service to his community and the sacrifice of the family he's left behind," Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.
Officer Sanchez, a six-year veteran of the force who lived in Santa Ana, was on patrol in Harbor City early Saturday, police said. As he and his partner followed a car making a U-turn, their vehicle was slammed on the driver's side by an oncoming SUV.
The driver of the SUV fled on foot, but a "person of interest" was detained by police shortly thereafter, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. No arrests have been made.
Officer Sanchez was the third LAPD officer to be killed in a collision since March.
Another LAPD officer also died overnight, due to a medical condition.
"This is a hard time for the LAPD family having lost two dedicated and well-liked officers in the last 24 hours," Izen said.