Man accused of killing Whittier Officer Keith Boyer makes 1st court appearance

BELLFLOWER, Calif. (KABC) -- The man accused of killing Whittier police officer Keith Boyer made his first court appearance on Monday.

Michael Christopher Mejia faced a judge in a Bellflower courtroom, but his arraignment was postponed to April 5. More than a dozen police officers showed up at the Bellflower courthouse for the hearing.

The 26-year-old gang member is facing double murder charges in the fatal shooting of Boyer and Mejia's own cousin, 47-year-old Roy Torres, which happened earlier that day in City Terrace. The murder charges include the 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.

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Boyer was killed on Feb. 20 while responding to a traffic accident. Police said the officers responding to the crash scene were not aware of the City Terrace murder. The officers were in the process of patting Mejia down for possible weapons when the suspect opened fire, authorities said.

In addition to the murder charges, Mejia was also charged with one count each of attempted murder of a peace officer, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon with two priors. The charges include allegations that Mejia personally and intentionally
discharged a handgun and that he committed the crimes "for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang."

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has yet to decide whether to seek the death penalty.

Mejia was released on parole less than two weeks before he allegedly gunned down Boyer. According to investigators, his criminal history includes charges of vandalism and resisting arrest, and he has previously been convicted of robbery, grand theft auto and vehicle theft.

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City News Service contributed to this report.
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