How you can help the families of officers Lesley Zerebny and Jose “Gil” Vega. Plus, where you can drop donations off across Riverside County
PALM SPRINGS, CA — As the community mourns the loss of two of Palm Springs’ finest, many are asking how they can help. There are several ways you can contribute to the families, and anything is greatly appreciated, law enforcement officials say.
On Saturday, Lesley Zerebny and Jose Gilbert Vega were among four police officers who responded to a domestic disturbance call in Palm Springs. Police say that three of them were ultimately shot by 26-year-old John Felix. Zerebny and Vega died a short time later.
Zerebny and her husband, a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy, were new parents. Their daughter, Cora, is just 4 months old, and Zerebny had recently returned to work from her maternity leave.
Vega, a 35-year veteran of the Palm Springs Police Department, leaves behind eight children and his wife. Palm Springs police say although he could have already been retired, he chose to answer the call to stay on the force and help as a training officer.
If interested, here are some ways you can help:
Diapers, Gift Cards
The Spousal Support Group for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is collecting donations for the families of the three officers affected by this tragedy.
Kylleen Wallace Coogan tells Patch that she’s spearheading an operation to collect things like diapers in particular for Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Zerebny, as he is left to care for baby Cora. She also says things like clothes and gift cards would be greatly appreciated.
Diapers size 2 and up are sought. Organizers had initially requested formula donations as well, but have seen an overwhelming support in that regard and Enfamil has even stepped up to make sure Cora is provided for.
Donations of any other baby-related items may be made at PSPD headquarters at 200 S. Civic Drive or at the following Riverside County Sheriff’s stations, with the listed contacts:
- Thermal Sheriff’s Station: 86625 Airport Blvd.(Misty Reynolds)
- Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station: 73705 Gerald Ford Drive (Allison Kaberra or Reonna Martinez)
- Cabazon Sheriff’s Station: 50290 Main St. (Brandi Teets)
- Southwest Sheriff’s Station: 30755-A Auld Road, Murrieta (Angie Kubel)
- Moreno Valley Police Department: 22850 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos (Brandi Swan or Steven Favero)
- Jurupa Valley Sheriff’s Station: 7477 Mission Boulevard (Deanna Myers)
- Southwest Detention Center: 30755-B Auld Rd, Murrieta (Dawn Segwa or Alisha Alexander)
- Hemet Police Department is also accepting donations: 450 E Latham Ave (Chonte Montiga)
- Beaumont Police Department is accepting donations at their station: 60 Orange Ave, Beaumont (Marcedes McFayden)
If you’d like to donate non-baby-related items like gift cards, you can specify for whom the donation is intended — or if you’d simply like it to go to any of the three officers’ families affected by the incident.
Monetary Donations to Palm Springs Police Officers Association
The Palm Springs Police Officers Association announced Monday that it is accepting donations for the families of Vega and Zerebny. Donations will be split equally between the two families, according to the police association, and may be made as follows: (You can specify which family you’d like to donate to, or indicate “both.”)
- Online at https://give.cornerstone.cc/palmspringspoa
- You can head to any Bank of America and write a check to: Palm Springs Police Officers Memorial Foundation.
- Mail donations to: Palm Springs Police Officers Association, 180 N Luring Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
- Head directly to the Palm Springs Police Department headquarters and provide donations there.
A separate GoFundMe page has also been set up to aid Zerebny’s family with expenses. The fund, established by her husband’s sheriff’s academy classmates, had reached nearly $70,000 of its $100,000 goal by Monday afternoon.
Another GoFundMe account had been circulating on social media, purporting to be for Vega’s family. However, his daughter wrote on Facebook that this was not for them, and the fund has since been pulled.
Palm Springs police said they can’t confirm the validity of any online fundraising sites other than that of the police officers’ association. Patch reached out to GoFundMe in regards to the fake account, and we’re told that all those who donated are being issued refunds.
“Fraudulent campaigns are very rare, making up less than one tenth of one percent of all GoFundMe campaigns,” the company told Patch via email Monday. “Additionally, our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are now protected by a refund policy. If something isn’t right, the donor will get their money back. In this case, the campaigns in question have been deleted and the donors have been refunded.”