Two suspects have been arrested and another is being sought in the killing of a retired California police officer who was killed last month while protecting a television news crew covering a smash-and-grab robbery.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said the unidentified suspects were taken into custody Tuesday night. The getaway vehicle used in the slaying was recovered last week.
One of the suspects is the owner of the vehicle. Both suspects were arrested were booked into jail on “various charges” unrelated to the slaying, Armstrong said.
Two suspects in the shooting death of retired officer Kevin Nishita were arrested Tuesday, authorities said. (Alameda County Sheriff’s Office)
“Their arrest is definitely associated with this investigation,” the chief told reporters. “The homicide charges are forthcoming.”
The arrests came nearly a month after Kevin Nishita was gunned down on Nov. 24 while on assignment with a KRON4 news crew covering organized retail theft.
Nishita, a retired police officer who worked for the San Jose, Colma, and Hayward police departments, was working as a private security guard at the time of the shooting. He often protected local news crews, which have been targeted by thieves in the past.
He died three days after being shot.
Colma police officer Dawn Marchetti previously told “Fox & Friends” that her retired colleague was a “great police officer, a great friend, a great co-worker and, you know, he just was always there for anyone for everything.”
“Serving and protecting, that was Kevin. Even in retirement, he continued to want to serve and protect the community, you know. And he continued doing so,” she said.
Armstrong declined to release the names of the three suspects, saying investigators are working with prosecutors to determine what charges will be filed. The Oakland Police Department declined to comment on the matter to Fox News.
“We are, I believe, closing in on the third suspect and we will also be closing in on getting this case charged,” Armstrong said.
Fox affiliate KTVU-TV identified one of the suspects taken into custody as Laron Gilbert, 26, citing sources.
The report said Gilbert was a parolee who was previously sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to firing a gun into an inhabited enclosure in San Francisco. In 2016, he was charged with attempted murder and weapons charges.
Former police officer Kevin Nishita. (KTVU)
Prior to that, he was found not guilty of killing a man in 2014, the outlet reported. Armstrong’s announcement came after he told reporters that 25 new police officers graduated from the police academy Wednesday.
The graduating class increases the number of officers in the city to 694, with more to come after city leaders authorized funding for two additional academy classes.