A Los Angeles police officer ran 24 miles in full uniform in tribute his fallen partner who was killed in the line of duty five years ago on Friday.
Officer Roberto Sanchez, 32, died after a man intentionally rammed his patrol car with an SUV to aid a friend who was being pursed by Sanchez through Harbor City on May 3, 2014, authorities said.
To honor Sanchez, the fallen officer’s then-partner, Officer Richard Medina, decided to make a memorial run from the Fallen Officers Memorial at LAPD Headquarters in downtown Los Angeles to the scene of the crash at Anaheim and Senator streets.
“Roberto wasn’t only my partner, he was my closest friend and I thank everyone who has supported me in doing this run,” Medina said in a written statement.
Sanchez and Medina were in pursuit of a Chevrolet Camaro when a Chevrolet Tahoe being driven by then-20-year-old Mynor Enrique Varela of Harbor City slammed into the patrol car, according to police and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Officials.
“Sanchez was killed when his patrol car was intentionally rammed by (the Tahoe) at Anaheim Street and Senator Street,” the LAPD said in a written statement. Sanchez died following the crash, and Medina suffered serious injuries.
Varela and his brother, who was a passenger in the SUV, ran from the crash scene but were soon captured, police said.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury convicted Mynor Varela of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and one count of hit-and-run in April of 2017, prosecutors said. But the jury failed to reach a verdict on murder and manslaughter charges.
Varela was found guilty of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter during a retrial in August.
A judge sentenced him in October to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus eight years.