Hundreds of LAPD officers gather for downtown L.A. service to honor fallen Juan Diaz

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Hundreds of LAPD officers gather for downtown L.A. service to honor fallen Juan Diaz

by Josh Cain

The funeral for a Los Angeles Police Department officer gunned down while off duty in Lincoln Heights last month drew hundreds of his peers to a downtown L.A. cathedral Monday morning.

Flanked by dozens of LAPD vehicles along Temple Street just outside Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels, the hearse holding the casket of Officer Juan Diaz pulled up with red-and-blue lights blaring, and a small, fluttering American flag attached its hood.

  • Flanked by dozens of LAPD vehicles along Temple Street just outside Cathedral Our Lady of the Angels, the hearse holding the casket of Officer Juan Diaz pulled up with red-and-blue lights blaring, and a small, fluttering American flag attached its hood. (Photo by Josh Cain, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG.)

  • Los Angeles Police Department officer Juan Jose Diaz’s family follows his casket into Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles on Monday, August 12, 2019. Diaz was killed while off-duty in Lincoln Heights after visiting a taco stand. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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  • Los Angeles Police Department officer Juan Jose Diaz’s casket is carried into Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles on Monday, August 12, 2019 for his memorial service. Diaz was killed while off-duty in Lincoln Heights after visiting a taco stand. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Police Department officer Juan Jose Diaz’s family follows his casket into Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles on Monday, August 12, 2019. Diaz was killed while off-duty in Lincoln Heights after visiting a taco stand. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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Just before 9 a.m., six pallbearers – three of Diaz’s cousins dressed in white, and three LAPD officers in uniform – took the casket from the hearse.

They carried Diaz inside the cathedral, where Chief Michel Moore, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the officer’s family and friends were waiting.

The shooting that killed Diaz “has shaken the department to our core,” LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein said outside the cathedral on Monday.

Diaz, a 24-year-old rookie, was sitting inside a pickup truck driving away from a taco stand near Artesian Street and Avenue 26 after midnight on July 27 when, detectives said, a gang member ran up and fired at the vehicle.

Diaz and another man inside the truck were struck. After his girlfriend flagged down a nearby LAPD cruiser, officers tried to save Diaz, but he died at the scene. The other man suffered facial injuries but survived.

Suspect Christian Facundo, 20, of Temecula was angry after Diaz spotted him tagging a wall near the taco stand and told him to stop, police have said.

After an argument, Facundo and another man, 23-year-old Francisco Talamantes, left the scene but quickly returned, authorities said.

Police said Facundo was the shooter, with both men getting arrested on Aug. 2 in Temecula and now facing murder charges. A third suspect, 18-year-old Ashlynn Smith, faces an accessory-to-murder charge.

Diaz grew up in the Lincoln Heights area, dreaming of becoming a cop. He was assigned to the Special Operations Division unit of the department’s Professional Standards Bureau.

Inside the church on Monday, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez presided over the ceremony. Father Tesfaldet Asghedom, the pastor for the Diaz family from Sacred Heart Parish in Lincoln Heights, gave the homily.

Following the ceremony, a procession was to take Diaz to the burial site at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

As the hearse leaves the cathedral, a “missing man” formation of four LAPD helicopters was to fly over.

The procession was to include a riderless horse, with boots reversed in the stirrups, symbolizing “a warrior who will ride no more,” LAPD officials said.

All credit goes to Josh Cain Originally published on https://www.dailynews.com

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