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Hundreds Gather to Pay Respects to Slain Downey Police Officer

Whitney Ashton |
November 30, 2015 | 9:51 p.m. PST

Contributor

A memorial for Officer Ricardo Galvez was created in front of Downey Police headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (Whitney Ashton/Annenberg Media)
A memorial for Officer Ricardo Galvez was created in front of Downey Police headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. (Whitney Ashton/Annenberg Media)

A sea of dark blue uniformed officers and mourners dressed in black filled a downtown Los Angeles cathedral on Monday for the funeral of slain Downey Police Officer Ricardo Galvez.

Family, friends and law enforcement officials from Southern California and across the country attended the funeral service held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in L.A. A gravesite salute with full police honors was held immediately after the service at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.

READ MORE: Three Arrested in Murder of Downey Police Officer

On Nov. 18, Galvez was fatally shot while sitting in his BMW — dressed in street clothes — in a public parking lot adjacent to the Downey police station. He died at the scene. The 29-year-old is the first officer to be gunned down in Downey Police Department history. 

Three people were arrested and charged with his murder. Police and prosecutors believe that the killing was the result of a “botched robbery attempt” and that the trio did not realize he was a police officer. 

Steven Knott, 18, Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, and Abel Diaz, 17, are all due in court for arraignment on Dec. 17. In addition to murder charges (including the  the special circumstance allegation of murder during an attempted robbery), the three are facing a single count of second-degree robbery, along with gang and gun allegations.

Rows of police cars and other law enforcement vehicles line the streets in front of the cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. (Whitney Ashton/Annenberg Media)
Rows of police cars and other law enforcement vehicles line the streets in front of the cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. (Whitney Ashton/Annenberg Media)
“Today we will not dwell on the circumstances that surrounded his death, instead we will focus on and celebrate his life and the extraordinary man that he was,” said Downey police Chief Carl Charles. 

Galvez, affectionately known as “Ricky,” was from Whittier and is survived by his mother, Margarita; brother, Pedro; and sisters, Sandra and Nancy. 

“This is a place I never imagined I’d be standing … mourning the loss of one of our own,” Downey Mayor Luis Marquez said during the service. 

READ MORE: Obama Wants Funding For 50,000 Police Body Cameras

The five-year veteran of the department was also in the U.S. Marine Corps. Prior to becoming a police officer, he served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Charles described Galvez as a “humble man” who “left a legacy of love and caring for others.” 

Fellow Downey Police Officer Drew Lofquist delivers a eulogy at Officer Ricky Galvez's funeral on Mon., Nov. 30, 2015.
Fellow Downey Police Officer Drew Lofquist delivers a eulogy at Officer Ricky Galvez's funeral on Mon., Nov. 30, 2015.
Galvez’s friend and fellow Downey police Officer Drew Lofquist delivered a touching eulogy to close the service. He recalled movie nights where the two officers would watch the 2012 crime drama “End of Watch” — Galvez’s favorite movie.

“In true Ricky fashion, I will leave you with these words of encouragement and a message to the forces of evil, a quote from Ricky’s favorite movie, 'End of Watch,'” Lofquist said. 

“...Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed, I think, I love, and yes I can be killed. And although I am but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are the same as me. They will lay down their lives for me, and I them. We stand watch together. The thin-blue-line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police," he read. 

READ MORE: LAPD To USC Students: No Racial Profiling Found

Following the service, Lt. Mark McDaniel of the Downey Police Department fought back tears as he stood just feet away from Galvez’s American flag-draped casket inside a hearse. 

New York Police Department Lt. Christopher Popovic poses for a photo displaying his badge, draped with the badge number of fellow Officer Ricardo Galvez. (Whitney Ashton/Annenberg Media)
New York Police Department Lt. Christopher Popovic poses for a photo displaying his badge, draped with the badge number of fellow Officer Ricardo Galvez. (Whitney Ashton/Annenberg Media)
“We lost a true hero and a friend,” McDaniel said. “It’s time to grieve now … We’ll grieve together and we’ll heal together as one. But it’s also a time to celebrate his life. Ricky was a fantastic young man, but we can’t forget the ultimate sacrifice he made in doing what he loved.” 

Police officers from around the country traveled to Los Angeles to mourn their “brother in blue.” New York Police Department Lt. Christopher Popovic and his fellow officers said they attended the funeral to stand in “solidarity” with the Downey Police Department. 

Reach Contributor Whitney Ashton here or follow her on Twitter here



 

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