A rookie Los Angeles police officer who was named a suspect in a Pomona homicide investigation was fired Tuesday, a swift punishment Police Chief Charlie Beck had vowed to take.
“Henry Solis failed to meet the minimum standards of the Los Angeles Police Department and has been terminated effectively immediately,” Beck said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Beck had harsh words for the rookie cop, who has been missing since the fatal shooting occurred early Friday. Pomona police issued a warrant for his arrest Monday.
“If Henry Solis is watching this, you have dishonored this police department, your country and your service to the country, and your family,” Beck said, looking into television news cameras. “And you should turn yourself in and face the consequences for your actions.”
Along with the high-profile murder investigation of Robert Durst and shootings in South L.A., a pair of officers accused of serious crimes made for a “busy weekend” for his department, Beck told reporters after the Police Commission meeting Tuesday.
Beck said Solis had been a Marine before he joined the LAPD in June. The chief said there was “no obvious indication that he would have the propensity for this,” but said Pomona police “have a strong case.”
Solis is suspected of shooting Salome Rodriguez Jr., 23, in a parking lot near an area of Pomona packed with popular bars and nightclubs. Beck said Tuesday that the incident was “most likely fueled by alcohol.”
Because Solis was a probationary employee -- he joined the LAPD in June and was assigned to the department’s Devonshire division in November -- Beck said he had the legal authority to fire Solis more quickly than if he had been a tenured employee.
The fact that Solis has not shown up for work and isn’t cooperating with Pomona detectives “is sufficient to terminate him,” Beck said.
“This is one of those instances where I can take immediate action,” the chief said. “So I will.”
Beck said allegations against another officer arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday night could also warrant termination if proved true. Officer Carlos Quezada Jr. is accused of trying to smuggle a Mexican citizen into the United States in the trunk of a car.
Federal prosecutors charged Quezada and a woman with bringing in a person without presenting them to an appropriate immigration officer at a port of entry, according to court documents.
Quezada, a 10-year LAPD veteran assigned to the Hollywood division, has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, an LAPD spokeswoman said.
“It weighs on my heart, obviously,” Beck said when asked about the allegations against the two officers. “I have tremenous respect and a great sense of pride and ownership for the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department. I do this job to serve them. But when they go beyond the law, I will no longer serve them.”
Beck also addressed two recent shootings in South L.A., both of which occurred near 65th Street and Broadway. The first happened Friday, when a man was killed. Beck said detectives believe that shooting was "directly related to an ongoing feud between two of our street gangs.”
“It caused multiple incidents of gang retaliation,” the chief said. “We have put multiple extra resources into the area of the city in order to protect everybody.”
On Sunday, two narcotics officers were injured when their unmarked police car was fired upon. The officers suffered minor injuries, but the incident shut down a large area near 65th and Broadway as police searched for the shooter.
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