Motorists traveling in both directions on the 91 Freeway will be forever reminded of the ultimate sacrifice made by Fullerton Police Det. Tommy De La Rosa.
Signs have been placed along the eastbound 91 at the Interstate 5 interchange and westbound 91 at Magnolia Avenue declaring those segments of roadway the “Fullerton Police Detective Tommy De La Rosa Memorial Interchange.”
On June 21, 1990, De La Rosa was on an undercover assignment posing as a narcotics trafficker when he was ambushed and shot five times.
De La Rosa died, but not before returning fire, killing one of the suspects. Three others are in prison, serving life sentences.
Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes, De La Rosa’s partner at the time, has called the date “one of the darkest and saddest in the history of the Fullerton Police Department.”
Fullerton Rotary South donated $5,000 for the signs, which were approved by the State Legislature in 2015.
“These signs are now installed and will help ensure that our community will never forget the sacrifices that are made to keep them safe,” Hughes said.
Along with Officer Jerry Hatch, De La Rosa was the second Fullerton officer killed in the line of duty.
A pair of signs honoring Hatch also was approved by the Legislature and should be installed within a few months, Hughes said.