In America, tensions have been high between police and citizens due to what many feel is a surge of unjust police brutality and violence against innocent victims. As many people feel nothing has been done in the name of Justice for these victims, violence against police is now rising.
Recently, there have been multiple police officer shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and as of July 28th, San Diego has been added to the list of cities effected by this violence. Unfortunately, Officer Jonathan “J.D.” DeGuzman of the San Diego Police department was fatally shot while on a pedestrian stop during the late evening hours.
DeGuzman had previously received a purple heart for surviving a stabbing while on duty in 2003, and served his community for over 16 years at the time of his murder. A civil servant who lost his life for simply doing his duty.
The murder was not only violent, but completely unnecessary as the assailant shot him multiple times from point blank range, ensuring fatality. DeGuzman’s partner Wade Irwin apparently stopped the man walking just seconds before the murderous attack on the two officers, but luckily, survived his wounds. Although both officers were seasoned and wearing bullet proof vests, there was nothing they could do.
No words can express the loss his family and two daughters feel as they try and grieve the loss of their fallen soldier, but on August 5th, something amazing happened. Nearly 2,000 police officers showed up to participate in the ceremony, proving that he will be sorely missed by many.
Local stations that covered the ceremony stated that there were over 600 police cars and 200 motorcycles leading the procession, while some passersby even got out of their vehicles to salute and pay respects to fallen hero. The officers that participated in the funeral were not just from the local community, or even just California; they came from all over the nation.
The support didn’t just stop at police officer’s–firefighters, paramedics, highway and state troopers from all over the nation joined in to honor and remember DeGuzman and support his family in this time of need. Unfortunately, DeGuzman now holds a new title as the 33rd police officer from San Diego to be killed in the line of duty since the beginning of the 20th century.
Even the local schools knew officer DeGuzman as he would often visit in uniform and help answer any police related questions the students had. Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the world he was a loving family man and husband who always talked about his family to coworkers at a news conference shortly after his death. She also stated that “He came to work every single day just wanting to make a positive difference in his community”.
52 year old Jesse Michael Gomez was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with this shooting. He is pictured here laying bandaged due to being shot by Irwin as he fled the scene but is expected to fully recover. Gomez has a lengthy record which includes gun and drug charges resulting in multiple prison sentences.
The unity and humanity shown at DeGuzman’s funeral gives the country hopes for a peaceful future among police officer’s and citizens, realizing it’s going to take extreme efforts on both sides. However, I think we can all agree that the violence must stop in order to avoid any heartbreaking situations like this in the future.