Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Cathedral City Police Officer Killed in Crash

March 19, 2011 |  8:34 pm

A Cathedral City police officer was killed late Friday night when he lost control of his patrol car and crashed while chasing two men in a stolen vehicle, authorities said Saturday.

Officer Jermaine Gibson, 29, of Beaumont, the father of a 4-week-old boy, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before midnight Friday. His car burst into flames after striking a palm tree on the east side of South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Two fellow officers pulled him from the wreckage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Gibson, a former U.S. Marine who was married about a year ago, had worked in law enforcement for about three years, including 18 months as a Cathedral City police officer. He served two tours of duty in the Iraq War and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Before his death, Gibson was chasing a stolen Ford Mustang that also crashed and caught fire. One of the two men inside was a state parolee.

Authorities said both men were arrested and taken to Desert Regional Medical Center, where they were treated for serious injuries. Their names were  not available.

On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered flags in the Capitol to be lowered to half-staff, and Cathedral City officials set up a memorial fund to help the officer's family. "Officer Gibson's service and sacrifice will not be forgotten," Brown said.

-- Dan Weikel