Gang member convicted of murder in shootings that left 2 dead, including Whittier police officer

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Gang member convicted in 2017 murder of Whittier police officer
Michael Christopher Mejia was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and single counts of attempted murder, carjacking and possession of a firearm.

WHITTIER, Calif. (CNS) -- A gang member who killed a man in East Los Angeles in 2017 then opened fire on two Whittier police officers, killing one and wounding the other, was convicted Wednesday of murder and other counts.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours Tuesday before reaching their verdict in the trial of Michael Christopher Mejia, 30. The verdict was read Wednesday morning, with the panel convicting Mejia of two counts of first-degree murder and single counts of attempted murder, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties, murder for the purpose of avoiding arrest and multiple murders. Jurors also found true gang and gun allegations.

He is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced Dec. 1.

Mejia was convicted for the Feb. 20, 2017, killings of Keith Boyer, a 53-year-old Whittier police officer who was the first officer in the city killed in the line of duty in 37 years, and 47-year-old Roy Torres.

Accused killer of Whittier officer says he 'smoked' cop in recorded interview

An admitted gang member told detectives he "smoked" a Whittier police officer and his own cousin, according to an alarming tape-recorded interview played in court on Thursday.

The attempted murder count involved Whittier police Officer Patrick Hazell, who was shot in the abdomen.

In his closing argument Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Garrett Dameron urged jurors to "hold him accountable, hold him accountable for the ruthless, inhumane killer he is."

The prosecutor said the two police officers were responding to a three-vehicle traffic collision near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street in which Mejia had been involved, and that the two had no idea that those would be "the last moments" of Boyer's life.

Dameron called the evidence "so strong," telling jurors that there was "clear intent to kill the victims in this case" and an "abundance of evidence" that Mejia premeditated the shootings.