LOS ANGELES - Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano, who was shot and critically injured in Alhambra on June 10 while getting food at a Jack in the Box, has died, said Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
Deputy Solano passed away Wednesday afternoon surrounded by loved ones, Villanueva continued. "He died a hero."
Deputy Solano was waiting to receive his food at the counter when the suspect approached him and shot him in the head.
"The deputy was alerted in the restaurant that someone was following him, and that's when he turned to confront (the person), and that's when the shooting happened," Villanueva said. "That much we do know. But the motive, the rationale from the suspect -- that's the million-dollar question."
"Thank you to everyone that has had my dad in their prayers. Unfortunately, we have lost him," said Deputy's Solano's son as he fought back tears. "He was a really good dad, so I just want to thank all the law enforcement agencies that have been a part of this. Continue to pray for him and my family please. Thank you."
The Sheriff's Department held a procession for the fallen 13-year veteran deputy on Wednesday at 7 p.m. starting from the USC Medical Center and ending at the L.A. Coroner's Office. The deputy's colleagues, friends, family, and members of the community were witnesses to the procession Wednesday evening.
Rhett Nelson, a 30-year-old Utah man who had been reported missing by his family, was identified as the suspected gunman and arrested a day after the shooting when his father called authorities to turn him in.
Homicide investigators believe Nelson may have been involved in more crimes since coming to California.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call homicide investigators at 323-890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.