By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A policeman sitting in his personal vehicle outside his department's headquarters was shot to death during a botched robbery in Southern California, and three people have been arrested in the slaying, authorities said on Thursday.
Officer Ricardo "Ricky" Galvez, 29, was shot on Wednesday night in the parking lot of the Downey Police Department after the suspects arrived there in a vehicle, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which is handling the investigation, said in a statement.
Sheriff's Lieutenant John Corina told a news conference two suspects parked, got out of their car and ran up to Galvez's vehicle. They ultimately opened fire on the former U.S. Marine in the community 10 miles (16 km) southeast of downtown Los Angeles, Corina said.
Police said a fellow officer driving nearby heard the gunshots, saw a vehicle leaving the parking lot and gave chase, ultimately seeing the occupants of that vehicle ditch it in a residential area of neighboring Montebello before fleeing on foot.
Two adults and a juvenile were arrested during a search of the area, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Deputy Sara Rodriguez. Police recovered a revolver believed to have been used when Galvez was shot in the botched robbery, she said.
The three suspects were not named.
Downey Police Chief Carl Charles described Galvez for reporters as "a tremendous young man."
Investigators on the case will review surveillance video that captured the attack, Saldana said.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Andrew Hay and David Gregorio)