Maricela Alvarado, sister of suspect Abel Diaz, cries as she walks to her car, insisting the teenager was not responsible for the death ofOfficer Ricardo Galvez. “My brother is innocent. He is not the shooter,” said Alvarado, 24.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Laura Sarabia said she came to the Downey memorial for Officer Ricardo Galvez to pay her respects, and show her kids the hero he was.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Bell Gardens police Officer Steven Perez salutes as the coroner’s van departs from the scene where Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez was found shot to death in the driver’s seat of his vehicle in a Downey parking lot.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
L.A. County Sheriff’s Department personnel salute a coroner’s van bearing the body of slain Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez as it arrives at the coroner’s office in Los Angeles.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Downey Police Department personnel gather at the coroner’s office on Thursday morning, after escorting the body of slain Downey Officer Ricardo Galvez to the facility in downtown Los Angeles.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Members of the Downey Police Department form an honor line as the body of slain Officer Ricardo Galvez is moved to the coroner’s van. Galvez was fatally shot in a botched robbery attempt as he sat in his personal vehicle in a Downey city parking lot, authorities said.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A Downey police officer is consoled after the body of slain Officer Ricardo Galvez was moved to the coroner’s van Thursday morning.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Bell Gardens police Officer R. Barrios hugs a former Marine who served with slain officer Ricardo Galvez.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Former Marines who served with slain Officer Ricardo Galvez, as well as police officers and other people form a line as the coroner’s van departs.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
This undated handout photo shows Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez, who was found fatally shot while sitting inside his personal vehicle in the civic center parking lot late Wednesday evening, Nov. 18, 2015.(KTLA)
People line the street as the coroner’s van departs with the body of slain Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A memorial with a portrait of slain Downey police officer Ricardo Galvez is forming in front of the police station.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
A Downey police officer hugs people arriving to the scene of where Officer Ricardo Galvez was found shot to death in his vehicle in a city parking lot.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Police officials examine the area where Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez was found fatally shot.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Downey Police officers embrace at the scene where fellow Officer Ricardo Galvez was found shot to death in the civic center parking lot.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Police investigate a scene, including this vehicle with the trunk open, off Washington Boulevard in Montebello. Ricardo Galvez, a Downey police officer, was fatally shot while sitting in his personal vehicle in a city parking lot.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies investigate the scene off Washington Boulevard in Montebello, where a vehicle fleeing the scene of a fatal shooting in Downey was finally stopped.(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
A suspect is detained at the end of a pursuit that began in Downey, where Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez was shot and killed.(KTLA)
A video frame grab shows the scene at the Downey Police Department after Officer Ricardo Galvez was shot and killed in the parking lot of the civic center at the end of his shift.(KTLA)
Black bands cover the badges of Downey police officers after Officer Ricardo Galvez was shot and killed in the parking lot of the police station.(KTLA)
Late Wednesday night, Maricela Alvarado received a cryptic text message from her teenage brother.
“Mari I love all y’all,” the message read.
“My homie ... up n did something,” it continued, using a profanity.
The message came at 11:18 p.m., just minutes after Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez was shot and killed in an attempted robbery outside the department’s headquarters.
Alvarado showed the text message to reporters Friday outside the Downey courtroom where her brother, 16-year-old Abel Diaz, appeared on a murder charge in connection with Galvez’s shooting.
Alvarado, 24, said she spoke to her brother after his arrest.
“I didn’t shoot the officer. My friend did,” she said Diaz told her.
Diaz, who has been charged as an adult and remains jailed in lieu of $1 million, chose to delay his arraignment until Monday after a brief court appearance. Several of his relatives were in attendance, and his mother cried out at one point and had to be restrained by another of her sons.
A district attorney’s spokeswoman, Jane Robison, said “the evidence will show that [Diaz] was involved in events that led to the officer’s death.” She said prosecutors are not alleging that Diaz pulled the trigger. She declined to comment further.
On Friday, sheriff’s officials identified the other two people who were arrested as Jeremy Alvarez, 21, and Steven Knott, 18. They were booked on suspicion of murder on Thursday, but have not been charged in the case.
In an interview with The Times on Friday, the Nissan’s owner, Rebecca Ustrell, said Alvarez was her boyfriend and that Knott was his brother.
Ustrell said she met Alvarez two years ago at a Montebello apartment building. They began dating and eventually started living together. Alvarez’s brother enjoys rapping and lives in an adjacent building, she said.
“He’s a big guy, he’s 6-1 and yeah, because of his haircut he maybe looks like a gangbanger, but looks can be deceiving,” she said of her boyfriend. “He may look mean, but he’s very nice and generous.”
Ustrell said she did not know how Alvarez and Knott knew Diaz.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said detectives believe that Diaz and Knott approached Galvez while Alvarez acted as the getaway driver. Detectives, he said, are also investigating whether the three were responsible for a series of recent robberies in an area that includes Downey, Lakewood and Bellflower.
Once they were in custody, the suspects admitted to trying to rob Galvez, according to Corina, who said Galvez was not wearing his uniform at the time of the attack and was not targeted because he was a police officer. The murder weapon, a revolver, has been recovered, he said.
As she left the courthouse Friday afternoon, Alvarado repeatedly professed her teenage brother’s innocence.
“He is still in school. He has good grades. This isn’t him,” she said. “He doesn’t do this kind of thing.”