PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- - The valley is remembering the lives of two Palm Springs police officers who were killed in the line of duty three years ago Tuesday.
Lesley Zerebny and Jose 'Gil' Vega were shot and killed by John Hernandez Felix after they responded to a family disturbance call on October 8, 2016.
Dozens attended a memorial service outside Palm Springs police station Tuesday evening, laying flowers and lighting candles as the city paused to remember the fallen officers' sacrifice.
"I can't believe it's 3 years," said Jose Vega, Officer Vega's older brother. "And from now on it's all going to be happy times remembering my brother, Lesley for the good they served us, family and the community."
Family members of the officers said the community support is helping to keep them strong.
"Nothing will replace the loss of Lesley and Gil but you guys have done a really good job of trying to help us through that," said Britta Kling, Officer Zerebny's sister.
After nearly three years of court proceedings, the trial of Felix came to a conclusion; a judge sentenced the convicted killer to death in late August.
"The trauma of the trial is over now; it's a matter of the family moving on and remembering Gilbert," Vega said.
"It was so satisfying," said David Kling, Officer Zerebny's father. "It actually washed a lot of the anger and frustration and everything away because finally we got to see justice served. Two death sentences, 380+ years in prison for the evil man that did this."
Vega served with the department for 37 years and was planning to retire in 2016. Zerebny had been with PSPD for a year and had just returned from maternity leave four months before the shooting.
The ceremony will be held at 5 p.m in front of PSPD at 200 South Civic Drive.
"Today we honor our fallen Brother and Sister. 3 years ago they gave their last full measure of devotion in their efforts to stand between good and evil," wrote PSPD Chief Bryan Reyes in a tweet. "We will never forget their sacrifice and will forever honor them."
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