Police Officer Jose Gilbert Vega

Police Officer Jose Gilbert Vega

Palm Springs Police Department, California

End of Watch Saturday, October 8, 2016

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Jose Gilbert Vega

Police Officer Gil Vega and Police Officer Lesley Zerebny were shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call in the 2700 block of Cypress Road shortly after noon.

A family member from the home had gone to a neighbor's house and stated that his son was armed and wanted to shoot police officers. Responding officers, including Officer Vega and Officer Zerebny, arrived at the scene several minutes later. The man inside the home opened fire on them as they approached the front door, killing Officer Vega and Officer Zerebny and wounding a third officer.

The man then barricaded himself inside the home for approximately 12 hours. He was taken into custody by members of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office SWAT team. The subject was an admitted gang member.

In May 2019 the subject was convicted of capital murder with the jury recommending the death penalty.

Officer Vega had served with the Palm Springs Police Department for 37 years and was scheduled to retire only two months after his murder. He was working an overtime shift on the day he was murdered. He is survived by his wife and eight children.


  • Age 63
  • Tour 37 years
  • Badge P-538

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; AR-15
  • Offender Convicted of capital murder

ambush, domestic, gang member

Most Recent Reflection

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Gilbert was my Father’s best friend. They started in the academy together and we’re suppose to retire together, but Gilbert decided to do 1 more year. I remember October 8, 2016 very clearly. From that day on, my Father has never been the same. He lost a piece of him with Gilbert that he’ll never get back. Gilbert was funny, caring, compassionate and loved his family. Overall an amazing officer! God bless Gilbert and Leslie’s family and God rest their souls.


October 21, 2023

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