EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) — Two police officers were killed Tuesday in a shootout while investigating a possible stabbing in a suburban Los Angeles motel, and the suspect died at the scene, authorities said.

The El Monte officers, a veteran of more than 22 years and a rookie with less than a year on the job, went to the Siesta Inn in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, around 4:45 p.m., authorities said.

The officers “confronted the suspect” and gunfire erupted inside a motel room, Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide Capt. Andrew Meyer said at a news conference Tuesday night. He said the gunman then fled into the parking lot where more gunfire was exchanged.

Meyer said he didn’t know whether the officers were shot inside the motel or outside. They died at a hospital. The alleged gunman was shot and died at the scene.

El Monte interim Police Chief Ben Lowry called the officers heroes.

“These two men were loved,” he said. “They were good men. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, serving their community trying to help somebody.”

“Today, they were murdered by a coward and we are grieving and that hurts,” he said. Police declined to release more details about the officers, including their names.

El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said the officers died “while trying to keep a family safe.” Meyer said investigators were interviewing a woman from the hotel who they believe was the suspect’s girlfriend.

She wasn’t stabbed, he said.

Other details weren’t immediately released.

The killings came just one day after a California Highway Patrol officer was shot and critically wounded during a traffic stop in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.

The 27-year-old officer was shot several times. He was in critical but stable condition at a hospital but was expected to recover, the CHP said.

A bloodhound helped police track down a suspect and Pejhmaun Iraj Khosroabadi surrendered to police Tuesday morning in a homeless encampment in the Van Nuys area of the San Fernando Valley, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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