Crime & Justice

Recently paroled gang member charged with killing Whittier police officer

File: Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, is accused of killing a 27-year-veteran of the Whittier Police Department and wounding his partner after a traffic accident on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.
File: Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, is accused of killing a 27-year-veteran of the Whittier Police Department and wounding his partner after a traffic accident on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.
Courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

A recently paroled gang member has been charged with killing a Whittier police officer and his own cousin.

Michael Mejia was charged Wednesday with murder with special circumstances, making him eligible for the death penalty. He's also charged with attempted murder, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon.

It's unclear whether he has a lawyer.

Prosecutors say the 26-year-old Mejia shot and killed his cousin in East Los Angeles on Feb. 20, took his car and later crashed it into two other vehicles in neighboring Whittier.

When police arrived, prosecutors say Mejia pulled a gun.

Officer Keith Boyer was killed. Officer Patrick Hazell and Mejia were wounded in the shootout.

Mejia, a convicted robber, had been jailed for parole violations but freed about a week earlier.