Loved ones and hundreds of fellow officers honored the life of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Juan Diaz during a funeral service Monday morning, a little over two weeks after he was fatally shot.
Mourners gathered at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles as the services began at 9 a.m. Adorned in an American flag, Diaz's casket was carried into the cathedral by three officers in full uniform and three other pallbearers.
He was remembered by relatives for his passion for police work and commended by elected officials for his dedication. LAPD Chief Michel Moore described him as an officer with a "young and promising life" and someone "who represented the very best of this department."
Diaz, 24, was off-duty when he was gunned down by Cristian Adrian Facundo in Lincoln Heights on July 27, according to LAPD. Facundo, 20, was charged with murder last week.
Los Angeles Archbishop José Horacio Gómez presided over Monday's services, leading a bilingual mass where several of Diaz's family members and loved ones were seen wearing all white as they sat in the front pews of the cathedral. The mass was followed by a funeral procession through the streets of downtown L.A.
Just before the fatal shooting weeks earlier, Facundo had been spray-painting gang-related markings on a sidewalk when Diaz and a friend "kinda questioned why" he was doing that and asked him to stop, LAPD Captain William Hayes said last week.
Facundo and another man, 23-year-old Francisco Talamantes, later allegedly opened fire on Diaz and his friends — killing the young officer and severely wounding another man.
"Juan's death leaves a lasting wound, his murder a lasting scar," Moore said during the service.
One of the clergy members who spoke before mourners said Diaz died trying to fix "something that was not right."
"He tried to correct it. I guess you can call it — an instinct of an officer off-duty. I call it an instinct of a soul who used his God-given freedom and free will for the good of others and the beauty of his surroundings," he said.
"Instead of accepting the guidance of a good soul, those individuals chose to use their God-given freedom to kill him and to destroy," he added.
Also at the service were Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and several other elected officials and law enforcement officers, including former police academy classmates of Diaz.
"This is a reminder to each one of us that this boy from northeast Los Angeles, this son of immigrants from Mexico ... that he stood up and that we should stand up for what is right in this city every single day," Garcetti said.
Diaz had been a member of the LAPD for two years.
"Juan may have only been with us a short time, but his legacy of dedication and service will live on for decades," Moore said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Diaz's family in the wake of his death.