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24-Year-Old Off-Duty LAPD Officer Shot and Killed by Alleged ‘Tagger’ at Avenue 26 Taco Stand (UPDATE)

2:47 PM PDT on July 29, 2019

Graffiti at Ave 26 stand on March 7, 2019. Photo by Brian Feinzimer

The search is still underway for the suspect who shot and killed Juan Diaz, an off-duty cop who was at the popular Avenue 26 Taco Stand shortly before 1 AM last Saturday morning. He was out with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s two brothers at the time of the shooting. One of his girlfriend’s brothers was also shot, but he is expected to survive.  

Juan Diaz. Photo courtesy of LAPD

ABC Eyewitness News has confirmed that the shooting took place after the police officer tried to stop a group of men from writing graffiti nearby. A source to the LAPD revealed that one of the taggers brandished a handgun and threatened Diaz. Diaz and his group then tried to avoid the confrontation and escape to his vehicle and that is when the gunman opened fire. 

More details The official LAPD news release below.

We are still canvassing for available video footage and looking for witnesses, and we have processed the crime scene with the hopes that evidence obtained will provide significant information and context into what happened. These evidentiary items are undergoing relentless follow up and the most thorough level of analysis.

Ave 26 Tacos

Ave 26 Taco Stand is among the most crowded taquerias in northeast L.A., especially around the time of the shooting on weekends. It is a favorite for late-night suadero and al pastor tacos. In 2017, the taqueria was shut down by the Health Department for being a “non-permitted food operation.” However, the taqueria returned to their nightly schedule just a few days after, as reported by Eater

I am ordering all @LACity flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of the life, service, and sacrifice of @LAPDHQ Officer Juan Diaz. Officer Diaz’s career was defined by dedication — to his fellow officers, his department, and our city. Our hearts are with his family and friends.

— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) July 29, 2019

Mayor Garcetti condemned the murder and has ordered all L.A. City building flags to be lowered at half-staff “in honor of the life, service, and sacrifice” of Diaz. Tweeting that “Officer Juan Diaz career was defined by dedication — to his fellow officers, his department, and our city. Our hearts are with his family and friends.”

This is a procession I never want to be a part of ever again. It is a dark day for @LAPDHQ as we try to make sense of the senseless. The tragic murder of Police Officer II Juan Diaz hangs on every heart of every man and woman of the LAPD.

— Josh Rubenstein (@PDPIOJosh) July 27, 2019

There was a procession for Juan Diaz on Saturday.

After the entire intersection was closed for the investigation the following day, L.A. Taco has confirmed that Ave 26 Taco Stand is back in service.

L.A. Taco will update this story as it develops.

Update on 8/2/19: L.A. Times is reporting that three suspects in Riverside, Murrieta, and Temecula have been arrested in connection to the fatal shooting of Juan Diaz. LAPD Assistant Chief Bea Girmala has confirmed that the suspects are in their 20s but no names or interviews have happened yet. We will update as the story develops. 

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