Funeral services were held Saturday for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Amber Leist, who was struck by a vehicle after helping a woman cross a Valley Village street.
“Since her passing, I’ve come to find out that she left a gigantic void in the hearts of many in our department, particularly those at West Hollywood station,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at the service, held at the Mosaic Church on Hollywood Boulevard. “… Amber’s commitment to service is a reflection of what the men and women of the sheriff’s department do every day.”
“Amber had impeccable people skills. In fact, she possessed one of the highest levels of emotional intelligence I have ever seen in a human being,” said Capt. Edward Ramirez of the West Hollywood Station, where Leist was assigned. “Amber had the ability to strike up a conversation with anybody. It didn’t matter who you were, or what your lot in life was, she had a passion for people.”
Leist, 41, was returning to her vehicle when she was struck by a car Jan. 12. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was a 12-year veteran of the sheriff’s department.
“Our hearts are broken,” Amber’s father, Daniel Leist, told reporters at a vigil earlier this month. “This is the most heart-rending thing you could ever experience. You never think you’re going to lose your baby. But Amber came into this department and she knew what she had to do.”
“She made the ultimate sacrifice, and she knew that going in, she knew that. And I couldn’t be more prouder,” Daniel Leist told NBC4. “Her life ended as she lived her life — serving others.”
The woman Leist helped before being struck by the vehicle also attended the vigil.
“She saved my life, I wish I could have saved hers,” Leslie Menaha told Fox11.
The sheriff’s department shared on its Twitter page a video tribute to Leist from her classmates at the Sheriff’s Academy that included the caption, “Amber touched everyone w/her positive & uplifting personality. We may not be able to see you, but we know you’ll always be there.”
Leist is survived by her parents and 17- and 20-year-old sons.
Services were closed to the public, but were livestreamed on the sheriff’s department Facebook page.