The funeral for Pomona police Officer Greggory Casillas, who was gunned down last week while responding to a barricaded suspect, will take place next week in Pomona, followed by burial in Covina, authorities announced Wednesday.
The service is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at Purpose Church at 601 N. Garey Ave. and will be immediately followed by a procession to Forest Lawn-Covina Hills Cemetery at 21300 Via Verde Drive, according to the Pomona Police Department.
The accused killer, Isaias De Jesus Valencia, 38, of Pomona has been charged with capital murder and the special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer and murder for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Valencia. He was also charged with seven counts of attempted murder and one count each of fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Valencia’s arraignment has been postponed until May 1.
The shooting occurred about 9:10 p.m. Friday in the 1400 block of South Palomares Street, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which was assisting Pomona police in the investigation.
Casillas was killed and Officer Alex Nguyen was wounded, reportedly shot in the face while coming to Casillas’ aid. Late Monday morning, police announced that Nguyen had been released from the hospital “and is doing well.”
Valencia was arrested Saturday following a standoff of more than 15 hours.
Casillas, a resident of Upland, had been with the department since 2014, though he was only sworn in as a Pomona police officer in September 2017, and was just about to finish field training. He is survived by his wife Claudia; sons Gregorio, age 4, and Mariano, age 5 months; his mother Marisela Casillas; and brothers Dominick and Shawn.
A memorial fund has been established for the Casillas family, and information is available via the Pomona Police Department’s Twitter account.
“Gregg is a hero. A man to look up to,” Pomona Police Chief Michael Olivieri said earlier this week. “He left his family at home to protect yours, and his ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten. Our Pomona police officers were out doing what they always do, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect Pomona, a community that we love.”
The confrontation began when Pomona police officers attempted to stop Valencia for alleged reckless driving. A pursuit ensued, which ended when the suspect’s vehicle crashed into a parked car and he fled on foot, according to sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner.
“The suspect ran into an apartment complex where officers gave chase,” Bergner said. “As he barricaded himself in a bedroom, officers attempted to contact him and he began firing through the door, striking two officers.”
LASD crisis negotiators tried repeatedly to persuade Valencia to surrender during the standoff, but he refused. Special Enforcement Bureau deputies then deployed tear gas and he still refused to surrender. They then entered the location where the suspect was barricaded and took him into custody.
Valencia’s friends said he is a father of three who used to be involved in his community but had been battling depression and substance abuse in recent years.
–City News Service
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