The body of Roberto Sanchez is escorted from Harbor-UCLA. Photo: Branimir Kvartuc/LA15th.com
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced this morning's death of six-year veteran Roberto Sanchez, 32, of the Harbor station. Sanchez and his partner were on a pursuit just before 4 a.m. when their patrol car made a u-turn and was hit by an SUV at President Avenue and West Anaheim Street in Harbor City. The impact was so severe that the police radio was disabled and the officer in the passenger seat had to call for help by cellphone. Both officers had to be extricated from the wreckage by firefighters; the passenger, whose name has not been released, is in serious condition.
Sanchez was married and had been at the Harbor division about two years. He is the third LAPD officer to die in a traffic collision in recent weeks.
The driver of the SUV fled the scene after calling for a ride. A 26-year-old man believed to be the driver has been taken into custody.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, in Washington this weekend for the White House Correspondents Association dinner, issued a statement:
I am deeply saddened by the death of LAPD Officer Roberto Sanchez. Officer Sanchez died a hero, but that does not lessen the blow to his family and fellow officers. Amy's and my thoughts are with his family and his brothers and sisters in blue today. We are also hoping for the recovery of the officer he was riding with last night, who was also his best friend. This third loss of an officer in the line of duty in just two months is a stark and tragic reminder of the dangers our first responders face every day. It is with a heavy heart that I am again ordering the city's flags to half staff.