Flowers lined the entrance Thursday to Corpus Christi Catholic Church where friends, family, fellow law enforcement officers and members of the public gathered in Bonita for the first of two memorial services to honor slain San Diego police officer Jonathan De Guzman.
The church, which holds 1,200 people, was filled to capacity for the 90 minute service which began at 11 a.m. after De Guzman’s casket was escorted into the church carried by pallbearers including the officer’s 17-year-old son.
Church pastor Father Efrain Bautista said the service was a time to comfort and console the officer’s grieving family he described as very spiritual and grounded in their Catholic faith.
“This is an opportunity for us as a church to come together and to pray, to support the family, to be together with the widow of Officer De Guzman, but also to be able to come together as a community of faith to pray for peace and for those who have given their lives in service for their country and community,” Bautista said.
Chief Shelley Zimmerman spoke at the service where she went through De Guzman’s career, said Aida Bustos, spokeswoman for the Diocese of San Diego.
The chief talked about how she had to call his family several years ago after De Guzman had been stabbed in a traffic stop. She told the crowd that the first thing she said to his wife that day was that “JD was going to be just fine.”
Zimmerman then recounted how this time, it was so very different. She said that when she was driving to see De Guzman’s family she so wished could say those same words again.
The chief then stopped and wiped away a tear.
She also had a message for De Guzman’s children. “JD worked really hard for you so you could live out your dreams,” she said directly to De Guzman’s son Jed.
She then turned to his 10-year-old daughter Amira. “Sweet Amira, how he loved you,” Zimmerman said.