SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Grieving family members, law enforcement colleagues and political leaders gathered Friday to bid farewell to a “courageous, selfless” San Diego Police Department veteran killed last week in the line of duty.
Thousands of law enforcement personnel from around the state and nation 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 in a hail of bullets at age 43 during a pedestrian stop in Southcrest late on the night of July 28.
Despite De Guzman’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 he stepped forward into his place on the thin blue line, protecting the citizens of San Diego,” Harris said.
Describing a meeting with the slain officer’s family last weekend, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said it was “easy to see how J.D. became the courageous, selfless man that we’re honoring here today.”
When De Guzman decided to seek a career in law enforcement, his loved ones thought he was “too nice” to be a police officer, the mayor told the crowd.
“It’s what made J.D. the perfect officer — because he was a nice guy, because he cared,” he said. Faulconer told the assembly that everyone would do well to “follow J.D.’s example.”
“We must never stop caring,” he said. “We’re going to keep strengthening the bonds between police officers and our communities. We’re going to keep forging pathways to opportunities so we can end the cycle of violence. And we’re never going to stop helping each other, because J.D. never stopped helping us.”