WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — A candlelight vigil was held Monday night for Keith Wayne Boyer, a 27-year veteran Whittier police officer killed in a shootout with a suspected 26-year-old gang member.
Officer Boyer joined the Whittier Police Department in 1989.
The honor guard started off the vigil at police headquarters where there were many hugs, tears, flowers and candles.
Boyer, 53, worked as a dispatcher and in the jail then became a full-time police officer in 1990. Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri described Boyer as humble, a mentor to many of the younger officers, the go-to officer in the field for the department, always smiling, positive and the kind of guy you would have liked to know.
Michael Karson remembered his former partner on the force.
“He loves people, he loves the interaction with people. He loves to help people,” Karson said.
Besides serving the police department, Boyer was also a school resource officer for Whittier’s La Serna High School where former student Reiley Godfrey says he touched her life.
“He was one of my mentors and made me want to better myself and think about what I want in my future, so it’s just really sad,” Godfrey said.
La Serna is also where he graduated in 1981 and former classmate Michele Godfrey says he was one of a kind.
“He was such a caring individual, he loved his city, he was a mentor to everyone,” she said.
Boyer’s other love was playing drums in his band, “Mrs. Jones revenge.”
He was a father and a grandfather, and friends say he was talking about spending more time with them soon.
“Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to retire but he’s been thinking about it, so that’s hard, that’s always hard when you’re that close,” Karson said.
Until Monday, the Whittier Police Department had lost only two officers in the line of duty.