Law enforcement members and others in the Pomona community and beyond paid their respects at the police department on Sunday after one officer was killed and another wounded in the line of duty.
The vigil held in the memory of slain Officer Greggory Casillas V and to pray for the recovery of injured Alex Nguyen on Sunday night had to be moved from the Pomona police headquarters to an adjacent street corner after hundreds of people turned out. Officers from neighboring agencies were called in to patrol the area so that Pomona police officers could mourn.
Nguyen was first identified as the officer injured during the Sunday night vigil, while Casillas had been identified as the officer killed on Saturday. Nguyen remains in the hospital but was in stable condition on Sunday, authorities said.
After a chaplain offered prayers and words of hope, Pomona Police Chief Mike Olivieri delivered a heartfelt address.
“Losing Gregg has ripped a hole in the hearts of his family and members of this department," he said. "The Casillas family is feeling the pain right now and needs our support.”
Casillas was a husband, son and father of two who was just completing the field training the night he was killed.
He was shot after a man wanted on suspicion of reckless driving crashed and barricaded himself behind a door, from where he shot the two officers, according to police. The suspect has been identified as Pomona resident Isaias De Jesus Valencia, 38.
Casillas' father, Greggory Casillas IV, also spoke at Sunday's event and urged the community to find positive outlets for the tragedy.
“Now that we lost him let it serve a purpose," he said. "Let’s keep our officers safe.”
Peter Mellini, another relative of Casillas' who attended, described the fallen officer as full of warmth and courage.
“He was always the one who would come up to you and greet you with a hug," Mellini said. "That’s the way he was, just a very loving, caring person. And so it’s a wonder to us that he was out there serving and protecting.”'
Editor's note: Sheriff's officials had previously given Valencia's age as 39.