POMONA (CBSLA) — Pomona Police Officer Gregory Casillas was killed in the line of duty Friday night.
Today, a growing memorial and comments from those who knew him are painting a portrait of a young father, loving husband and officer with a promising future.
CBS2’s Laurie Perez was outside the Pomona Police Department where there is a growing memorial of flowers at the Fallen Officers Memorial. Others brought trays of food and boxes of coffee as the community mourns.
“Our officer’s name was Gregory Jonathan Casillas,” said Pomona Police Chief Michael Olivieri to reporters.
It’s a name he said would bear repeating.
Casillas’ fellow officers escorted his body from the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office Saturday morning. All along the route, other officers plaid their respects. Many stood at attention on overpasses, many held flags.
Many of his co-workers plunged into mourning overnight as they heard the sad news about the rookie office and so did the community.
Throughout the day, many who said they knew him — and some who said they didn’t — stopped by with flowers to show their respects.
Casillas was sworn in last September. He grew up in LA County, went to college here and made his way through the department since 2014. Casillas worked as a records specialist, then jailer before entering the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department Academy.
“Greg intentionally chose to take different positions in the police department to better prepare himself to achieve his goal — to become a Pomona police officer. Greg is a hero, a man to be looked up to, he left his family at home to protect your’s,” said Olivieri.
Among those who came to offer comfort — Congresswoman Norma Torres — herself a police dispatcher for 17 years. She says the entire department needs support tonight.
“It’s a tragic time in a dispatcher’s life when they have to hear officer needs help, officer down that’s, you know, you’re never prepared enough to do that,” Torres said.
A local church set up a vigil for 6 this evening.
The Chief said Officer Casillas was just about to finish his field training.
The officer leaves behind a wife, two small children, his parents and two brothers.