Saturday, August 6, 2016

San Diego stops to mourn fallen police officer Jonathan De Guzman

At the church,  bouquets surrounded a photo of Jonathan de Guzman.
SAN DIEGO came to a stop yesterday (Aug. 5) with the closures of Interstates 8 and 15 for the funeral procession of slain police officer Jonathan "JD" de Guzman, a Filipino/American.

Thousands lined the streets and waited on freeway overpasses, saluting, waving flags and shedding tears as the mile-long procession of police cars and motorcycles traveled the freeways in the warm California sun. 

Thousands of law enforcement personnel from around the state and  from as far away as New York City crowded the chapel and grounds of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon in a show of somber respect for gang-enforcement Officer Jonathan "J.D." De Guzman, who died after being shot during a pedestrian stop in Southcrest late on the night of July 28. He was 43.
Despite DeGuzman's ultimate sacrifice, the 16-year member of San Diego's police force "didn't become a hero last week," retired SDPD pastor Ben Harris told the mourners, among them Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
"He became a hero when he chose to live a life of safety and calmness and (when) he stepped forward into his place on the thin blue line, protecting the citizens of San Diego," the pastor said.
Several of the slain officer's rank-and-file colleagues praised DeGuzman, a native Pangasinan in the Philippines. He emigrated to San Diego when he was 20, as a consistently cheerful, generous and supportive colleague and a dedicated son and father to his own two children.
Some of the police cars that were part of the funeral procession.
De Guzman's mother, Fe DeGuzman, received a standing ovation with her tearful testament to her son, who always stopped to take a moment with her and her husband before leaving for work, "to pray, to share his love, his gratefulness for us, and to pray that he would come back home."
"This simple act was also our last moment with him," she said. "That night, he did not come back home. That makes us remember how precious life is."
DeGuzman's teenage son, Jonathan Jr., lovingly spoke of his father as a man who had harbored some less-than-practical ambitions, including returning to his home country and running for governor there.
"His death motivates me to achieve my dreams and create a positive impact toward the world,'' the high school senior said, adding that he was "very pleased with the amount of people here today, because my father secretly wanted to be famous one day."
De Guzman and his partner, Officer Wade Irwin, 32, came under fire moments after pulling over to talk to a man behaving suspiciously in a neighborhood just east of the intersection of Interstate 5 and state Route 15.

The shooter moved to the police car's open passenger door and fired five rounds at De Guzman while he was still seated behind the wheel of his cruiser, one shot severed his spine. Irwin suffered a serious but non-life-threatening wound.

The suspect is an ex-con who allegedly opened fire on them, 52-year-old Jesse Michael Gomez, was critically wounded in the shootout and remains hospitalized.

Gomez pleaded not guilty Tuesday (Aug. 2) to charges of murder, attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm, and was ordered to remain in custody in lieu of $5 million bail. A special circumstance allegation of murder of a police officer makes Gomez eligible for the death penalty if he is convicted.

A second suspect was arrested but has not been linked to the shooting. No motive for the shooting has been cited.

The San Diego Police Officers Association is collecting money for De Guzman’s family. Donations can be mailed to the San Diego Police Officers Association, 8388 Vickers St., San Diego, CA 92111, or made online at

SDPOA officials asked donors to include “Officer Jonathan De Guzman” in the notes of the online donation or on the memo lines of their checks.

Contributions to aid in Irwin’s recovery expenses can be made at a Go Fund Me account.