CLAREMONT (CBSLA) — An emotional vigil was held Thursday evening in honor of Mark Manlapaz, the Cal Poly Pomona officer who was fatally stabbed last week.
CBS2’s Tina Patel said friends and family were not only struggling with their grief, they’re still trying to make sense of what happened to the public safety specialist last Friday.
“I’m still shocked, but we live in a cruel world,” says friend Ray Santos.
Manlapaz, 37, was stabbed while sitting in his truck just off campus.
The suspect, who’s been identified only as a custodian at the university, was later killed by officers.
Cal Poly Police are trying to be patient while sheriff’s investigators figure out a possible motive.
“I won’t be able to say they can actually give us answers, because nobody was there. But maybe they can give us an idea to what truly occurred on that horrific day,” says Cal Poly Pomona Police Chief Dario Robinson.
But at a vigil in Claremont, where Manlapaz also worked as a senior park ranger, friends didn’t want to focus on how he died, instead they shared memories of how he lived.
“Mark was just one of the nicest guys I’ve known. He’d come in, you’d never hear a complaint come from his mouth. Just always happy, smiling,” says fellow park ranger Juan Aguilar.
Manlapaz was recalled as a hard worker who not only took care of his family here in California but in the Philippines as well — he did so without anyone knowing.
That’s another reason his friends say he was taken too soon. They have no doubt that Manlapaz is in a better place now.
“I know God will take care of him, and angels will be always be with Mark,” says Santos.
Manlapaz lived in Victorville. His family says a funeral service will be held at the High Desert Church later this month.