A GoFundMe account was started Thursday to help the family of an Oxnard police and school resource officer who was killed the previous day in a motorcycle crash.
Officer Nathan Martin, 45, died after his motorcycle was apparently struck by a tractor trailer making a left turn in front of him in the area of Third Street and Campton Drive around 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Oxnard Police Department.
He was off-duty at the time and the collision occurred less than a mile away from the police station, which he had just left. The first responders to the crash site included Martin's close friends, who were devastated, police said in a statement.
“It’s a terrible and dark day for everyone here at the city of Oxnard and the Oxnard Police Department,” Police Chief Scott Whitney said. “He was a good man. He worked hard for his city. He was committed to his job.”
A 20-year veteran of the department, Martin leaves behind a wife, a 17-year-old daughter, and two sons, ages 20 and 14. He is also survived by his mother and a brother who is an officer with the Oxnard Police Department as well.
The Oxnard Peace Officers Association set up the fundraising page in hopes of raising $50,000 to help the family out financially.
During his lengthy police career, Martin worked as a patrol officer, property crimes investigator, traffic officer and, most recently, was the school resource officer at Hueneme High School.
"He did a fantastic job working with our parents and students and families, and we are so sorry for his loss. Our thoughts are with his family," said Tom McCoy, the assistant superintendent of the Oxnard Union High School District. "Today is just going to be a day of grieving here."
At the campus Thursday morning, grief-stricken students could be seen hugging one another and crying before classes started. Some placed flowers in the officer's parking spot, while banners thanking Martin for his 12 years of service at the school were taped up on walls.
The veteran officer was fondly remembered as a role model and mentor to students, someone who had a real heart for the job, according to colleagues.
"He cared so much about students," recalled Joseph Ramirez, a campus supervisor. "We were never hard on the students, we always believe in hope, and I think that's one thing he showed with every student that he was able to work with."
Whitney, who was among the mourners paying tribute to Martin during a procession Wednesday night, showed up to campus Thursday morning. He felt it was important to be at the school.
"I just talked to the staff of the high school, and when they're talking to you ... 125 adults and most of them are crying because they're friends with him, they knew him personally -- it's hard to be that stoic chief that you have to be," he said. "It was important to be here."
Plans for a memorial service have not yet been made.