By James Queally
Los Angeles Times
MURRIETA, Calif. — A 25-year-old Escondido police officer was shot to death by her husband after a confrontation in their Murrieta home, authorities said Thursday.
Freddy Perez-Rodas, 27, is believed to have shot Laura Perez and then set fire to the couple's home on Grand Oaks Court in an attempt to cover up the crime, the Murrieta Police Department said in a news release.
Perez-Rodas confessed to killing his wife, according to the news relase, and investigators believe he shot Perez once in the chest "during a domestic violence incident."
Perez was hired by the Escondido Police Department in October 2013 and graduated from the police academy last December, according to a post on the Escondido Police Officer Assn.'s Facebook page.
"The men and women of the Escondido Police family and all City of Escondido employees are shocked by the tragic loss of one of our own," Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter said in a statement. "We ask for time to grieve and take care of Laura's family."
Carter described Perez as a "dedicated, young police officer." He planned to hold a news conference Friday afternoon.
Murrieta police responded to reports of a fire at the couple's home around 6 p.m. Wednesday. They found no victims inside but quickly determined Perez was missing.
Perez-Rodas was detained by police a short time later and admitted to killing Perez before hiding her body in a storage unit in Moreno Valley, roughly 30 miles away.
He then returned to Murrieta, set the home ablaze and called 911, according to the police department's statement.
The couple had a 4-year-old daughter, according to Lt. Tony Conrad, a department spokesman. She was not harmed in the incident.
Perez-Rodas was arrested on suspicion of murder, arson and child endangerment. A spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney's office said criminal charges against the 27-year-old had not been filed yet.
Conrad declined to say whether the couple had a history of domestic violence or whether any previous calls were made to police from the home.
Perez-Rodas was being held at the Southwest Detention Center and was scheduled to appear in court in Murrieta on Friday morning, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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