Thousands of law-enforcement officers on Tuesday attended memorial services for an LAPD motorcycle officer who died after being struck by a suspected DUI driver.
Officer Christopher Cortijo, 51, was stopped at a red light in Sun Valley on April 5 when his motorcycle was hit from behind by a Chevy Blazer. He succumbed to his injuries four days later.
The driver of the SUV, 33-year-old Qaneak Shaney Cobb, was taken into custody at the scene of the crash. She later pleaded not guilty to possession of cocaine and driving under the influence of a drug causing injury.
A viewing for Cortijo was held Monday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. It was followed on Tuesday morning by a funeral at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in downtown Los Angeles.
“Officer Cortijo was actually the first officer on scene when I was struck by a drunk driver, and he rendered aid to me,” said LAPD Officer David Fatool, standing outside the cathedral before the service began. “So it’s a little disheartening that I wasn’t able to be there for him, to help him out.
“He was one of the best guys on the DUI detail,” Fatool added, his voice filled with emotion.
During the funeral, Cortijo was memorialized by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and several relatives and fellow officers.
Garcetti said that Cortijo, a two-time LAPD Officer of the Year, had protected millions of motorists by arresting some 3,000 DUI drivers during his career.
“There’s not a person in L.A. who doesn’t know Chris Cortijo and what he did for them,” Garcetti said.
Afterward, a hearse carrying Cortijo’s casket was escorted by scores of police vehicles to the officer’s gravesite at Forest Lawn.