The officers had responded to a report of a traffic accident near Mar Vista Street and Colima Road shortly before 8:30 a.m. when they were shot, said Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Mejia had rear-ended another auto and was seated in his own vehicle when he opened fire on the officers, according to investigators. Police returned gunfire, injuring the 26-year-old gunman.
"You have no idea how things have changed in the last four years", Piper added.
When the three Whittier officers arrived on scene and approached the suspect, he pulled a gun from his waistband and began to shoot at close range. "This is a senseless, senseless tragedy that did not need to be", said Chief Jeff Piper.
The two police officers and the suspect were taken to local hospitals in unknown conditions, the release stated.
Whittier Police Department Officer Keith Boyer is shown in a photo he posted to his Facebook page on November 27, 2013.
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After rear-ending another auto while driving a stolen vehicle, he approached the driver and helped to push the auto to the side of a road around the corner from the scene of the accident.
"This is a very sad day for our officers, the families involved, the Whittier Police Department and our community", Vinatieri said.
Piper and Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell attributed Boyer's death to Assembly Bill 109, known as Realignment, and to Proposition 47, which turned some felony offenses into misdemeanors.
The Whittier Police chief blamed the shootings in a recently passed law that aims to reduce the prison population with early releases. "We're trying to determine if anything else sparked that", he said.
"The fearless men and women of our law enforcement agencies go to work every day knowing that they may find themselves in danger's path, yet they never turn their backs on protecting our community", Solis said. "People don't want to follow rules, don't care about people".
Los Angeles County booking records show Mejia was arrested by law enforcement five times since July.