LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A somber memorial service was held Sunday evening for the slain off-duty LAPD officer who was allegedly shot and killed by a tagger he confronted.
Juan Jose Diaz was 24.
Three suspects — two men and one woman — were arrested Friday for their role in the slaying.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Cristy Fajardo reported that at the memorial, more mention was made about Diaz’s life and not how he died.
Diaz grew up in Lincoln Heights and the community came out to honor him and to say “thank you.”
A makeshift memorial was surrounded by candles and mourning bands. There were also plenty of Dodger caps — a tribute to the late officer’s favorite team.
Many in the crowd knew Diaz. Some said they didn’t have to know him.
“This was a very, very important event to honor someone that cared about our community, who was trying to serve our community and lost his life in doing that,” says Juana Lambert.
A little over a week ago Diaz went to a taco truck with his girlfriend, and, police say, was gunned down by gang members all because he tried to stop one of them from tagging.
His former academy classmates say the officer was full of integrity. And could always be counted on to do the right thing.
“The toughest thing in life is the unexpected thing — things that happen to good people that are just trying to make a difference in the world,” says officer Garcia. “Diaz was definitely one of those people.”
He had just bent an officer for two years when he was killed but made a mark on his colleagues. And judging from the size of the crowd it’s also clear Diaz made an impact on his community.
“And everyone I’ve spoken with says he was a bright smile, he was a bright mind,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore, “And he was always willing to give. And looking to live a life that exemplified our core values.”