By Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Colleagues of a longtime California police officer gunned down in the line of duty earlier this month escorted his 8-year-old daughter to school on her first day back following his death.
More than a dozen officers showed up Monday morning to take Vanessa Vega to school. Vanessa’s father, Jose “Gil” Vega, was one of two Palm Springs officers slain Oct. 8 while responding to a domestic disturbance. The Palm Springs Police Department shared photos on Facebook of the smiling elementary school student greeting the officers.
KTLA in Los Angeles reported that Vanessa earned a standing ovation when she spoke at her father’s Oct. 18 memorial service. The girl told stories about how her father taught her to run, but always lost to her when they raced.
She also recalled him teaching her baseball and karate.
Vega, a 63-year-old father of eight, was months away from retirement when he was killed. The other slain officer, 27-year-old Lesley Zerebny, had just returned from maternity leave after giving birth to a daughter.
The suspected gunman, 26-year-old John Hernandez Felix, was taken into custody following a 12-hour standoff with police. The Los Angeles Times reported that Felix, an alleged gang member, was wearing soft body armor and was equipped with multiple high-capacity magazines when he surrendered.
He has been charged with two counts of murder of a police officer and one count of attempted murder of a police officer for a third officer who was injured in the shooting, but survived.