California police officer shot to death in Salinas, suspect arrested

A police officer in Northern California was killed in an exchange of gunfire with a man he stopped for a traffic violation and the suspect in his death has been arrested, authorities said Saturday.

Salinas Police Department Officer Jorge David Alvarado pulled over a car about 10:45 p.m. on Friday in the area of Market Street and Griffin Street and the traffic stop turned into a shootout, said Miguel Cabrera, a spokesperson for the police department.

At a news conference with several officials Saturday, Salinas Police Chief Roberto Filice said Alvarado’s actions during the confrontation helped them arrest the suspect. Filice gave no other details on the suspect or what led to the shootout.

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"The officer stayed in the fight all the way to the end. Ultimately, he paid the price for it. He gave his life for it," Filice said.

"The police department lost a son but the community lost a hero," he added.

Alvarado, 30, was a five-year veteran of the department. His death was the first of a police officer in the line of duty in nearly 80 years in Salinas, a city 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of San Francisco, Salinas Mayor Kimbley Craig said.

"Our community and our police department are devastated," Craig said.

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The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation because the case involves an officer firing his weapon. District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said that her office will not provide any additional details until the investigation has concluded.

Craig asked residents to show their support to the city’s police officers.

"They are hurting, and they need to know our community supports them," she said.