Thousands honor slain Downey police officer
“If this ever happened (to me), I would want you to speak at my funeral.”
Downey Officer Ricardo Galvez said this to Downey Officer Drew Loftquist as they watched the film “End of Watch,” — Galvez’s favorite cop movie in which a key character dies.
Never did Loftquist think he’d have to deliver on his promise, but there he stood Monday doing what his best friend asked.
Thousands, including uniformed officers from across the country, filled the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles to honor Galvez, 29, who was shot and killed at about 11 p.m. Nov. 18.
Officers from nearly every Orange County agency, dozens from cities in Los Angeles County and officers from as far as New York and Chicago stood in silent salute as the American flag-draped casket was led into the massive cathedral by a lone bagpiper.
The 3,000-seat church was standing-room only, filled with those who knew Galvez and those who wanted to pay respect to a man who nobly served his community and country.
Police said the five-year veteran of the Downey police force was fatally shot in an apparent botched robbery attempt while he was in his personal vehicle outside the department.
The suspects told police they were attempting to rob Galvez and did not know he was an officer, police said.
Three people have been arrested and charged with Galvez’s murder and second-degree robbery.
Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, are being held without bail, and Abel Diaz, 17, is being held on $1 million bail.
Nobody spoke of the men accused of taking Galvez’s life or how he died because that was not why they gathered Monday morning.
“We will not dwell on the circumstances that surrounded his death,” said Downey Police Chief Carl Charles. “Instead we will celebrate and focus on his life.”
On this, there was much to say.
Galvez, known as “Ricky,” was described as a loyal and honor-bound man.
He served as a reservist with the United States Marine Corps and was deployed twice as part of Operation Enduring Freedom — once in Afghanistan and once in Iraq.
Galvez started working for Downey PD about nine years ago as a police aide.
He joined the force in 2010 as an officer with dreams of one day serving as a K9 handler.
Galvez diligently worked toward his goal, often taking on assignments that would prepare him for the future he was set on having, Charles said.
The night he was killed, Galvez was working as an agitator to help train Downey PD’s K9s.
He was a dedicated cop who advocated for small acts of kindness to impact the community he served, colleagues said.
This attribute was highlighted by several at his memorial who told the story of a traffic stop Galvez made to ticket a woman who was driving with expired registration tags.
The woman was distraught and told Galvez her husband recently died and she could not afford to pay the fee.
Galvez let her go with a warning and the next day paid the registration for her.
“He was a humble man who always gave what was asked of him and more,” Charles said.
Galvez was a natural leader — an attribute that shined through in his service as a Marine and police officer— but he was also a loyal friend, loving son and caring brother.
The Boyle Heights native was known as a jokester with an unmistakeable smile and infectious personality.
He included his family in every aspect of his life and they were proud of the man he became, friends said.
While at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy, Galvez practiced using his handcuffs on his sisters and learned the penal code by going over flash cards with his mom.
“He embraced love and wore his heart on his sleeve,” Loftquist said. “Although Ricky’s life was cut short, he lived it fully.”
Loftquist closed the memorial to his friend with a quote from “End of Watch” that read, in part:
“Behind my badge is a heart like yours. I bleed, I think, I love, and yes I can be killed. And although I am but one man, I have thousands of brothers and sisters who are the same as me. They will lay down their lives for me, and I them. We stand watch together. The thin blue line, protecting the prey from the predators, the good from the bad. We are the police.”
Galvez is survived by his mother, Margarita; his brother, Pedro; and sisters Nancy and Sandra.
If you would like to support the family of fallen Downey Police contact Mike Pope, president of Downey Police Officers Association (DPOA) AT 562-904-2308 or email@example.com or Downey Federal Credit Union, Officer Ricardo Galvez Fund, 562-862-8141 or visit www.downeyca.org for detailed information.