California

Gang member accused in officer's slaying was on probation

Officials say a California criminal justice reform initiative played no role in the length of the prison sentence of a gang member who is accused of shooting two police officers, one of whom died.

Michael Christopher Mejia was identified Tuesday as the suspect responsible for the slaying of Whittier Police Officer Keith Boyer. A second officer, Patrick Hazell, was wounded.

Authorities say Mejia had served time in prison for robbery and auto theft charges and was released on probation in April under a reform measure known as Assembly Bill 109, which allows some offenders to be released under the supervision of county probation officers instead of on state parole.

On Monday, Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper criticized the initiative and other measures, saying they were "laws that are raising crimes."