Updated: 6:15 p.m. (One officer confirmed dead)
Updated: 4:15 p.m.
A Hawthorne police officer was killed and an El Segundo officer injured today while participating in a funeral procession for Manhattan Beach police officer Mark Vasquez. The two crashed into each other at about 12:30 p.m. and were taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.
Andrew Garten, 44, the Hawthorne officer, and Rex Fowler, the El Segundo officer, were traveling southbound on Hawthorne Boulevard when they collided at 227th Street in Torrance, according to Torrance police Sergeant Jeremiah Hart, public information officer. The Hawthorne officer was thrown into oncoming traffic and hit by a car. The California Highway Patrol will investigate the accident.
A post on the El Segundo Police Department Facebook page identified the injured El Segundo officer as Rex Fowler, even before official word was given. The post reads, “While assisting with a funeral motorcade for recently deceased Manhattan Beach Police Officer Mark Vazquez, Sgt. Fowler and a Hawthorne PD Officer were seriously injured in a traffic collision. Both were transported to Harbor General Hospital. Due to this development, tonight’s ‘Tip-a-Cop’ at Macaroni Grill has been cancelled and will be rescheduled. We thank everyone for their understanding.”
The procession for MBPD officer Vasquez was headed to Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes for Vasquez’ burial, according to MB Police Captain Andy Harrod, who was riding in front of the accident. The procession began in Manhattan Beach at American Martyrs Catholic Church where a memorial service was held at 10 a.m.
City News Service contributed to this story.