The LAPD’s third memorial service for an officer killed in 2014 was held Wednesday morning in downtown Los Angeles.
Roberto Sanchez, 32, was pursuing a Chevrolet Camaro in Harbor City on May 3 when a Chevrolet Tahoe SUV rammed into his patrol car, killing Sanchez and injuring his partner.
“For the third time in as many months, I look out at a sea of blue washed in a wave of grief,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said during the memorial.
Beck fought back tears as he spoke of the grief Sanchez’s wife was experiencing.
“To lose the love of your life at the beginning of your life is too tragic to express,” he said.
Sanchez and his wife had been together since high school. Their six-year wedding anniversary would have been in June.
“Roberto didn’t just die, he was murdered and the people responsible will be brought to justice,” Beck said at the service.
The SUV that T-boned Sanchez was attempting to help the Camaro and intentionally crashed into Sanchez, Beck said on May 8.
Mynor Enrique Varela, 20, was accused of driving the SUV and pleaded not guilty to multiple charges on May 7, including one count of murder, one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, two counts of assault on a peace officer and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.
His brother, Bryan Varela, was believed to be a passenger in the vehicle and was being held on suspicion of violating probation.
Bryan Varela had not been charged and on May 9 in an L.A. Courtroom denied violating probation.
Two previous 2014 LAPD memorials were held for Officer Nicholas Lee, who was killed in March when his patrol car collided with a trash truck in Beverly Hills, and for Officer Chris Cortijo, who died when an allegedly intoxicated driver crashed into the back of his motorcycle in April.
Sanchez’s memorial service was at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, located at 555 W. Temple St. (map).
Multiple street closures were in place during the service, including Hill Street between Ord Street and First Street, Temple Street between Grand Avenue and Alameda Street and northbound Grand Avenue between First Street and Temple Street, according to the LAPD.