LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of mourners gathered Wednesday evening to remember a LAPD officer killed in the line of duty last week.
Nicholas Lee, 40, was killed last Friday at the intersection of Loma Vista Drive and Doheny Road in Beverly Hills when the driver of a truck apparently lost control of the vehicle and struck Lee’s police cruiser, officials said. Lee’s partner, who has only been identified by LAPD officials as Stephanie, was released from the hospital Saturday night.
A public rosary service was held at St. Basil Catholic Church on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown, where Lee’s wife and two daughters, ages 14 and 7, followed the flag-draped coffin into the church.
Those who knew Lee said they were not surprised by the massive turnout at the visitation.
“I could understand why all these people came out. We all knew Nick. We all loved him, and he was just a guy that you actually wanted to be friends with,” Lee’s high school friend, Michael Do, said.
Others, including Suzanne Cabriales, said the tragedy hit close to home. Her 25-year-old son, Anthony, is also with the department.
“When they put their gun belts on in the morning, it could be the last day. Whether it’s an act of violence, or like this, a tragic accident, you just never know,” she said.
KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez reports Lee moved to Los Angeles from Korea at the age of 6. He grew up in Koreatown and joined the LAPD in 1999. His last assignment brought him to the Hollywood Division as a patrol and training officer.
But those closest to him said the greatest joy was his family, especially his two girls.
“The day we found out, that’s the first thing I thought about. It just brought so many tears to my eyes to know that his two beloved daughters are not going to see him anymore,” Do said.
Officer Lee is also survived by both of his parents, his brother and his sister.
Thousands are expected Thursday for the final goodbye and burial, which will begin at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.