Vega Baja, PR – Manati Municipal Police Department (MMPD) Officer Jesus Marrero-Martinez was killed in the line of duty on Saturday, after he tried to stop a carjacking while on vacation.
The 37-year-old off-duty officer and his friend, prosecutor Pedro Berrios, planned to get together at the Taberna club, but arrived to find out it was already closed, Primera Hora reported.
While they were still outside the closed business, they were confronted by three masked men who told them to hand over the keys to their vehicles, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Berrios gave his keys to the carjackers, but Officer Marrero-Martinez, a 16-year veteran-of-the-force, drew his weapon and identified himself as a police officer.
One of the suspects, later identified as 21-year-old Jose Edgardo Berrios Colon, was fatally shot by Officer Marrero-Martinez during the exchange of gunfire that ensued, Primera Hora reported.
The veteran officer managed to get inside his vehicle, where he was shot in the right arm and back by one of the remaining two attackers, police said.
Officer Marrero-Martinez succumbed to his wounds inside his car.
His unarmed friend pretended to be dead until the two remaining suspects fled the scene, El Vocero reported.
Police identified one of the suspects as 25-year-old Giovannie Oquendo Guevarez, who is also known by the alias of “Bin Laden,” according to El Vocero.
Oquendo Guevarez, the son of a Bayamon-area law enforcement officer, was already on the Auxiliary Superintendent of Criminal Investigation’s most wanted list at the time of the murder due to his alleged involvement in a string of armed robberies and carjackings.
The second attacker has been identified as Kelvin Joel Melendez Colon.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is handling the ongoing investigation into the attack.
“These are difficult times for our staff,” MMPD Commissioner Salvador Rosario Velez told Primera Hora in the wake of the veteran officer’s murder.
Manati Mayor Jose Sanchez said that he has “mobilized the municipality's staff, professionals, psychologists and workers for our staff and the family of [Officer Marrero-Martinez to] help them in this process."
Officer Marrero-Martinez leaves behind his wife and four children.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Manati Municipal Police Department Officer Jesus Marrero-Martinez, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Jesus Marrero-Martinez, your life mattered.