LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An LAPD officer is running through Los Angeles in full gear, but he’s not chasing any suspects or running from a shooter – he’s doing it in memory of his fallen partner.
Officer Robert Sanchez was killed in the line of duty five years ago Friday. That day, Officer Richard Medina says he not only lost his partner – he lost his closest friend.
“He changed my life. He changed everybody’s life around him,” Median said. “He was an amazing guy.”
Sanchez was killed in 2014 when a driver intentionally rammed his SUV into his patrol car in San Pedro. Medina was also injured in the crash.
As the five-year anniversary of Sanchez’s death approached, Medina wanted to do something special in memory of his friend. He admits he’s not a runner, but a journey back to the area where his partner was killed – where he recently returned to patrolling – seemed a fitting tribute.
“I could have maybe had a fundraiser, but anyone can have a fundraiser,” he said. “Running between here and San Pedro, I think that really makes a bit more of a statement.”
Sanchez’s widow, who was too emotional to speak, was at LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles to see Medina begin his 24-mile journey. Officers on bicycles and an unmarked van followed Medina as he made the run through the city – in his full uniform, which includes 20 pounds of gear.
“To run this far in uniform, just for the memory and the life, celebrating the life of his fellow partner – very inspiring,” Officer Aaron Thompson said.