Two El Monte police officers died Tuesday night after they were shot in the line of duty while responding to a report of a stabbing.

The shooting happened around 5:10 p.m. at a motel on the 10300 block of Garvey Avenue, authorities said. The officers were responding to a report of a stabbing at the motel when they immediately took on gunfire.

The two officers were transported to the hospital by ambulance with gunshot wounds that ultimately took their lives, officials for the City of El Monte said. Their names have not yet been released.

One of the officers was a 22-year veteran of the El Monte Police Department. The other had been a member of the police force for less than a year.

The City of El Monte said in a statement Tuesday evening that the city was “saddened and shocked” by the tragic shooting that killed two of its law enforcement officers.

A joint statement from the City, the Police Department and the El Monte Police Officers Association was released that reads:

“There are no words to describe our grief and devastation by this senseless act as we learned about the passing of two of our police officers. It weighs heavy on our hearts and we are sending our support to their families. We would also like to thank the El Monte community and our surrounding government agencies for the outpouring support we have received in the last few hours.”

A suspect in the shooting, an unidentified man, was also killed during the exchange of gunfire, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

El Monte police captain Ben Lowry, the Department’s acting chief, described the two officers as “heroes” during a press conference Tuesday night and said the two made the “ultimate sacrifice.”

“Today they were murdered by a coward,” Lowry said.

A procession took place on the 10 Freeway with dozens of law enforcement vehicles from across the Southland driving from El Monte to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center where the officers were pronounced deceased. The fallen officers were then due to be transported to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office near the hospital.

The shooting is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department.

The shooting comes less than 24 hours after a California Highway Patrol officer was critically injured after being shot during a traffic stop in Studio City. The suspect in that shooting has been apprehended.