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Services scheduled for slain 24-year-old L.A. police Officer Juan Diaz

Chris Martin, center, and Ricardo Camacho at a memorial for Juan Jose Diaz
Chris Martin, center, and Ricardo Camacho visit a memorial to Officer Juan Jose Diaz last month at LAPD headquarters.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Slain Los Angeles police Officer Juan Jose Diaz will be honored at a memorial service Monday in downtown Los Angeles.

The service will begin at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on West Temple Street. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez will preside over the bilingual Mass.

Interment will immediately follow at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Diaz, 24, was fatally shot near a taco stand with his girlfriend and her two brothers in Lincoln Heights shortly after midnight on July 27.

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Moments earlier, the off-duty officer had seen someone tagging a wall and told the person to stop, spurring a confrontation that led to his death, according to law enforcement sources.

A group of young men approached Diaz sometime after the tagging exchange and began threatening him and his friends, the sources said. One of the young men lifted his shirt to reveal a handgun. Diaz and his group tried to hurry to their car and drive away to avoid a violent confrontation, LAPD sources said.

As they got into the vehicle, the gunman opened fire, fatally wounding Diaz and injuring one of his girlfriend’s brothers. Diaz was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officer had joined the force two years ago and was assigned to the Special Operations Division, which conducts investigations into department personnel. He had wanted to be a police officer since preschool, a family member told mourners at a vigil last month for Diaz.

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Three suspects — two men and a woman — were arrested Aug. 2 in connection with the shooting. The three were identified as Francisco Talamantes, 23; Cristian Facundo, 20; and Ashlynn Smith, 18, the LAPD said. All three are residents of Temecula. They were arrested on suspicion of murder with a gang allegation, police said.

At the time of the shooting, the gunman claimed allegiance to the Avenues, a once-powerful gang that has lost its grip on Lincoln Heights in the last decade, sources told The Times. The gunman told Diaz and his friends that they were in the gang’s territory.


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