Palm Springs, CA
Freeway signs dedicating a four-mile stretch of Highway 111 in the names of two local police officers killed in the line of duty a year ago were installed today in Palm Springs.
The Police Officer Jose `Gil’ Vega and Police Officer Lesley Zerebny Memorial Highway runs from Overture to West San Rafael drives, and the signs are visible to motorists as they enter and exit the city from the northwest. Family members of the slain officers wrote messages to their loved ones on the back of the signs before they were installed by Caltrans workers.
Vega, 63, and Zerebny, 27, were shot, along with another officer who survived, on Oct. 8, 2016, when they responded to a family disturbance call at the home of an ex-con who’s facing double murder charges and other allegations that could result in the death penalty if he’s convicted.
Their names were also added to the police memorial in front of the station on Sunday, joining Officer Lyle Wayne Larrabee, who died during a vehicle pursuit in 1962, and Officer Gale Gene Eldridge, who was fatally shot on Jan. 18, 1961, while investigating an armed robbery.
Vega had been with the department for 35 years — five years past his retirement eligibility — and had planned to finish his career last December. He is survived by his wife, Susana, eight children, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Zerebny had been with the department for a year and a half and had just returned to duty from maternity leave after the birth of a daughter, Cora, four months before her death. She is also survived by her husband, Zachary.