Greggory Casillas was identified as the police officer who was gunned down by a barricaded suspect in Pomona, California. Casillas was from Upland. “He left his family at home to protect yours,” the police chief said in a news conference.
The gunman, identified as Isaias Valencia, is accused of shooting two police officers, although the second officer is expected to survive.
The suspect was arrested after a 15-hour standoff.
Casillas Was a Married Father Who Was Sworn in Only Months Ago
Greggory Casillas, the married father of two small children, was just about to complete field training. The slain officer’s name was initially given as Gregory Casillas, but The New York Times and other news outlets now say it is Greggory. He was sworn in as a police officer in September 2017 but joined the force in 2014.
Casillas “joined Pomona police in December 2014 as a record specialist before taking a position as a jailer in September 2015,” according to CBS Los Angeles.
The Pomona Police Chief, Michael Olivieri, wrote on Facebook, “It is with a heavy heart that I must report that one officer did not survive. The second officer is in stable condition.” Although some sites said that the slain officer was 25, others said he was 30-years-old.
The Police Chief Called Casillas a ‘Hero’
In an emotional press conference, the police chief praised Casillas for his sacrifice. “Greg is a hero, a man to be looked up to,” Olivieri said. “He left his family at home to protect yours. And his ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
According to KTLA-TV, the incident started unfolding on Friday, March 10, 2018 when police responded to “the 1400 block of South Palomares Street about 9 p.m. Friday to a call about a reckless driver.”
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck joined those in offering condolences. “Another hero gone too soon. These tragedies are occurring too often, and the pains of sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with the @PomonaPD today,” he wrote on Twitter.
Many others offered condolences after Casillas’ name was released.
People Offered Heartfelt Condolences for Casillas & His Family
People filled the police chief’s comment thread on Facebook. One woman wrote that she lives “with my three children around the corner in view of the command center. When I came home and saw the street blocked my heart dropped because my son was home alone. My relief at seeing my son safe at home soon turned to sadness when I learned that one officer had died and another was wounded. This is so close to home-we are the people protected and served. So heartbroken for the families.”
A man wrote, “My condolences to the officers family, and to Pomona PD. Your service is always appreciated. Matt 5:9, Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called children of God.”
Local businesses also offered condolences. “Our behalf of myself and associates at the La Quinta hotel in Pomona please accept our condolences. Thank you all for all that you do for our community. We pray for the officers family and the speedy recovery of the other officer who suffered life threatening injuries. God bless you all,” wrote another person on the chief’s comment thread.
The Suspect Shot the Officer Through a Door
The horrific situation unfolded when Casillas was shot “while trying to make contact with a man who had fled police and locked himself inside an apartment,” according to The Daily Bulletin.
“Responding officers found the vehicle and a short pursuit ensued when the driver failed to stop. The driver then got out of the vehicle after crashing and ran into an apartment complex in the area,” KTLA-TV reported. “The man barricaded himself into a room inside an apartment and eventually shot through a door, wounding the two officers.”
As of Saturday afternoon, the suspect remained barricaded inside an apartment. The suspect’s name had not yet been released. Parole agents arrived at the scene.
Officer Casillas’ Body Was Escorted From the Hospital
“Police escorted the fallen officer’s body from Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office Saturday morning,” according to CNNWire.