Community mourns Garden Grove police lieutenant who died after battle with COVID-19

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Garden Grove police Lt. John Reynolds is seen in an undated photo.
Garden Grove police Lt. John Reynolds is seen in an undated photo.

The casket of Garden Grove police Lt. John Reynolds was draped with an American flag Monday as fellow officers led a solemn procession from a hospital to the mortuary.

The 59-year-old was hospitalized with COVID-19 in November, and passed away Sunday morning.

Colleague and friend Lt. Carl Whitney got choked up talking about Reynold’s impact on the Garden Grove Police Department. 

“He’s going to be missed,” Whitney said. “He was a selfless person. He loved his job. He loved his community. I’m glad we had this opportunity as an organization to stand out here and say our goodbyes.”

The 25-year veteran of the department worked his way up from the patrol division, serving as a gang officer, SWAT team member, and undercover investigator, all before being promoted to lieutenant in 2018. 

“He gave his life to this community,” Whitney said. “When I talked to him when he was in the hospital, it wasn’t about him. It was about how I was doing. How my family was doing.”

Reynolds’ fellow officers in uniform gave one last salute as his hearse drove by the police station Monday.

“Who knows with COVID what’s going to happen in the future, if we’re going to be able to have a funeral. At least we have some closure with this,” Whitney said. “The pain will never go away, the hurt will never go away, but our love for John will always endure. We miss you brother.”

Reynolds dedicated his time to youth programs, earning many honors including the Chamber of Commerce “Man of the Year” award.  

“When he was the youth services sergeant, he was involved with Kiwanis. He was an executive board member of the Boys and Girls Club. He loved working with our youth. He established some great programs with the school district,” Whitney said.

A GoFundMe page was created to help Reynolds’ family with expenses.

Men at other local law enforcement agencies also succumbed to the virus this past weekend, including the Rialto Police Department volunteer Gary Rico and Pasadena police dispatcher Bayron Salguero, both of whom passed away Jan. 16 due to COVID-19 complications.

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