A 17-year-old boy and two young men accused in the shooting death of a Downey police officer killed during an apparent botched robbery pleaded not guilty to charges on Friday.
Officer Ricky Galvez was was gunned down Nov. 18 during an apparent botched robbery while sitting in his car in a parking lot adjacent to the Downey police station. He had just returned from a training program and was not wearing his uniform when he was shot, according to Downey police.
Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, are charged with capital murder and attempted second-degree robbery in connection with Galvez's death.
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The murder count includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of an attempted robbery. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against the two.
Seventeen-year-old Abel Diaz, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, is facing one count each of murder and attempted second-degree robbery. Diaz, because of his age, is not eligible for the death penalty. He could face up to life in state prison if convicted as charged.
The criminal complaint also includes gang and gun allegations against all three suspects.
Alvarez, the alleged getaway driver, was taken into custody following a police pursuit that ended in the 1000 block of Carob Way in Montebello soon after the shooting.
The other two suspects were seen fleeing into a nearby home and taken into custody by members of a sheriff's special weapons team after warrants were obtained, officials said.
In a lengthy hearing on Friday, the judge heard arguments from defense attorneys about showing the faces of the defendants in court, arguing it would prejudice the case and anyone able to identify their clients.
The judge held off allowing cameras to roll on faces until a later court date after finding out the defense had not seen evidence of surveillance video from the parking lot near the police station where Galvez was shot.
The defense also said they needed to review dash cam video of the police pursuit and the arrest of the three men.
Diaz's sister, Maricela Alvarado, said her brother told her he did not shoot Galvez. Outside a courthouse in November, she showed reporters a text message Diaz sent her about 20 minutes after the shooting.
"Mari I love all y'all,'' the message read. "My homie (expletive) up n did something.''
Investigators believe the suspects were out to rob someone and were unaware that Galvez was a police officer or that they were in a rear parking lot of the police station.
Police recovered a handgun allegedly discarded by one of the suspects. They believe it was used to kill Galvez, according to the sheriff's department.
Downey police spokesman Lt. Mark McDaniel said Galvez is survived by his mother, a brother and two sisters.
Galvez joined the department in 2006 as a police aide. He was hired as a police officer with the department in March 2010. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Police Chief Carl Charles described Galvez as a compassionate and humble man with a "smile that would light up a room."
The three defendants are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 5.
City News Service and NBC4's Lolita Lopez contributed to this report.