Watch 600 Police Vehicles Escorting This Fallen Officer To His Funeral.
With recent police officer murders in Baton Rouge and Dallas, it was with heavy hearts that the nation received news of the tragic fate of another community servant.
Officer Jonathan "J.D." DeGuzman was killed after a shooting at a pedestrian stop in the Southcrest area of San Diego late at night on July 28, says local news sources.
The 43-year-old father of two was awarded a purple heart for surviving a stabbing at a traffic stop in 2003 and had been with the department for 16 years at the time of his death. Alongside him was his gang-unit partner Officer Wade Irwin, 32, who was badly wounded but is expected to survive.
On the morning of Friday, August 5, over 2,000 police officers — some local and the rest from cities around the nation — participated in DeGuzman's funeral procession. Fox 5 San Diego reported about 600 law enforcement vehicles and 200 police motorcycles in the motorcade. A few members of the community stepped out of their cars to offer a salute in honor and support of the slain officer.
Continue reading for more details and to learn about how you can help the victims' families today.
San Diego police officer Jonathan "J.D." DeGuzman died as a result of a shooting on the night of July 28.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman announced that the attack occurred moments after DeGuzman's partner, Officer Wade Irwin, stopped a man walking in Southcrest late night on July 28.
DeGuzman was seated in his patrol vehicle when the assailant shot at him multiple times at point-blank range. The seasoned officer had no time to raise his weapon. Irwin was also shot but is expected to recover.
The two officers were wearing bulletproof vests.
NBC 7 San Diego
Officer DeGuzman's funeral procession took place on Friday, August 5, and thousands of people attended.
According to Fox 5 San Diego, uniformed officers from Southern California and beyond participated.
Louisiana state troopers, Highway Patrol officers, firefighters, and paramedics also joined in.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, DeGuzman was the 33rd San Diego police officer to die in the line of duty since the early 20th century.
The community just wanted to send him off with the same love and respect he showed them.
It wasn't just the police community that showed up for him. DeGuzman, who was a father of two, was an active participant in the local community.
“Sometimes he would show up in his uniform, and many of our students would come up and ask him questions," Chula Vista Elementary School District Anthony Millican said in an interview.
"He was very engaging about his career, and there was a great deal of respect and admiration for him.”
Hundreds of others showed up with flags to honor him and other officers that have lost their lives this year.
J.D. was highly regarded by his colleagues. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman described him as a "loving, caring husband, father" that "talked about his family all the time" at a news conference.
"He came to work every single day just wanting to make a positive difference in his community," she continued.
Officer Jonathan DeGuzman and Officer Wade Irwin were part of a specialized gang unit.
“(DeGuzman) wanted to be in the gang unit, and he didn’t let his injuries stand in his way," former San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said of him.
"He had always done a very good job. He worked hard and he wanted to be out front. He was the kind of officer every chief would want to have.”
Residents of San Diego have stopped by the department to pay their respects.
Officers and community members alike also reached out to his mother, wife, and two kids, grieving with them for their loss.
Greg Stickney / NBC 7 San Diego
At this time, police are still trying uncover a motive.
Jesse Michael Gomez, a 52-year-old construction worker with a criminal record, was arrested the next day on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. Gomez's family has maintained his innocence.
A second suspect by the name of Marcus Antonio Cassani, 41, was also arrested, but it is unclear whether or not he was involved in the shootings.
NBC 7 San Diego
Donations for the DeGuzman family are currently being accepted at the following address:
San Diego Police Officers Association
8388 Vickers St.
San Diego, CA 92111