Crime & Justice

Man pleads not guilty to murder charges in fatal Harbor City LAPD hit-and-run

Two onlookers stare south on Anaheim Street in Harbor City Saturday, May 3, 2014 as LAPD investigators continue gathering evidence from the scene of a traffic collision that killed one officer.
Two onlookers stare south on Anaheim Street in Harbor City Saturday, May 3, 2014 as LAPD investigators continue gathering evidence from the scene of a traffic collision that killed one officer.
Ed Joyce/KPCC

Following his arrest Tuesday, Mynor Varela pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder charges in connection with a hit-and-run accident that left a Los Angeles Police Department officer dead and one officer injured Saturday in Harbor City.

RELATED: LAPD Officer Roberto Sanchez killed in Harbor City area hit-and-run; another hospitalized

The 20-year-old Los Angeles man has also been charged with a special circumstance of second degree murder of a peace officer, according to Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

"We allege that Varela was driving an SUV that slammed into the LAPD cruiser while it was attempting to take enforcement action against another vehicle," Robison said.

RELATED: Man arrested in alleged murder of LAPD officer in fatal hit-and-run

Officer Roberto Sanchez is the third LAPD officer to die in a traffic collision in recent months. His partner, Richard Medina, was injured with a broken jaw and has since been released from the hospital.

Varela is currently being held without bail. He could face up to life without the possibility of parole in prison if convicted.