LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Hundreds of mourners gathered Monday in downtown Los Angeles for memorial services for a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed while off-duty and in line at a fast food restaurant.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva was among those on hand to mourn Deputy Joseph Solano at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, along with uniformed deputies who escorted the casket into the cathedral, where a large photo of the slain deputy was displayed along with flowers arranged in the shape of a sheriff’s badge.

“At times like this, I see everyone coming together for this cause,” Villanueva said. “And the Solano family, I want to let you know that we’re
with you, all the way. We’ll always be with you.”

Solano’s son, Matthew, said his father was a good man, a great father and had a beautiful soul.

“My father had so much life ahead of him,” he said. “And for it to be taken away in the blink of an eye is unjustifiably heartbreaking.”

Solano, 50, was off-duty and in line at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Alhambra on June 10 when he was shot from behind, in the head. He died two days later, leaving behind his mother, sister, son, stepdaughter and longtime girlfriend.

A Utah man was arrested in Long Beach the next day in connection with Solano’s killing, and a string of other crimes including another, unrelated murder in downtown LA and armed robberies in San Diego County. Rhett Nelson, 30, is being held without bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on July 22.

The Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing deputies, is collecting donations on behalf of Solano’s family. Anyone interested in making a donations can contact the ALADS CARES program at 2 Cupania Circle, Monterey Park, CA, 91755.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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