Hundreds of mourners packed the Purpose Church in Pomona to honor fallen Officer Greggory Casillas who was killed in the line of duty just a few months after being sworn in.
"Today, we say goodbye to Gregg Casillas,'' Pomona police Chief Michael Olivieri said. "But it is certainly not the last day we will remember his service or his sacrifice. Gregg's name will be etched upon the federal, state, county and city police memorials - along with the other Pomona police officers who died in the line of duty serving this community and serving our nation.''
Among the dignitaries attending was Gov. Jerry Brown. The internment immediately followed the service with a procession that led to Forest Lawn-Covina Hills Cemetery.
Casillas was killed after he and his partner attempted to stop a Isaias De Jesus Valencia for alleged reckless driving. They pursued the suspect, which ended after the suspect's vehicle crashed into a parked car and he fled on foot to a nearby apartment complex.
Los Angeles County sheriff's crisis negotiators attempted to persuade Valencia to surrender during the standoff, but he refused to leave. SWAT deputies eventually tried using tear gas to flush Valencia from the apartment. When that was unsuccessful, they entered the apartment where the suspect had barricaded himself and arrested him.
Casillas' partner was also wounded during the standoff with the suspect for more than 15 hours.
The 30-year-old Casillas was a resident of Upland and had been with the department since 2014. He was recently added to the ranks of the Pomona Police Department and sworn in back in September of 2017. He was just about to complete field training when he was shot and killed. Casillas leaves behind a family which includes his wife, Claudia, sons Gregorio, 4, and 5-month-old Mariano.
The 38-year-old Valencia has been charged by prosecutors with capital murder, and the special circumstances allegations of murder of a peace officer and murder for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest.
Prosecutors have not yet said whether they plan on seeking the death penalty against Valencia. The suspect has also been 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.
"Gregg is a hero, a man to look up to,'' Olivieri said. "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.''
Casillas' family will also hold a fundraiser raffle event at Craft Beer Cellar in Eagle Rock on Friday, March 23, from 6PM to 10PM. Proceeds will go to Casillas' family. A GoFundMe has also been established for the family.