February 22nd 1993 was a day no Compton cop would ever forget.It was nighttime as veteran Officer K. Burrell and reserve Officer Jimmy MacDonald rode together. Burrell was a 6ft 5inch 300-pound giant of a black man. He was an aggressive officer who loved to make the good felony arrest. Jimmy was a white officer, and was his last night riding in Compton because he just got hired fulltime as a police officer in northern California. This night would be their last night alive, as they were about to pull over one of the most ruthless “Bounty Hunter” Blood gang members around. His name was Regis Thomas. Within the last year, he was released from jail on a murder charge, due to fact the only eye witness to the case turned up murdered. Thomas grew up in Nickerson Gardens on Imperial Highway in L.A. In our opinion this large housing project, along with Imperial Courts and Jordan Downs are the worst places in L.A. You just don’t go into these projects at night, unless you have at the minimum four cops.
Officers again heard that one radio call, you never want to hear, as Compton dispatchers put out the radio call “shots fired at Rosecrans and Dwight Street, officers down”. When officers arrived, they found the police car facing west on Rosecrans Blvd. with its overhead lights going. In front of he car was Officer MacDonald laying in the street, shot numerous times, the worst was one shot to the back of the head at close range. Burrell was lying down by the curb also suffering from numerous gunshots. Burrell also shot in the head at close range and both were dead.
Our Police Department was in shambles. Kevin and Jimmy had been the first officers’ shot and killed in Compton. In addition, our personnel were paralyzed with grief, and unable to get a grip on the investigation. Chief Taylor made one of the best decisions of his career, he asked the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for assistance. We had already lost two days of the investigation since the Department had been bombarded, and over whelmed with clues relating to the shooting. The Sheriff’s Department had the resources, but we had the gang intelligence, so a Task Force was formed. We were part of this Task Force and were proud to be a part of the arrest and conviction of Regis Thomas who is currently on death row.
A special thanks to all at L.A.S.D. who were part of this investigation, especially the Firestone Gang Unit.
Read more about these officers on the California Peace Officers' Memorial website