LOS ANGELES (CNS) - In recognition of Black History Month, the Los Angeles Police Department Tuesday honored the late Officer Randal Simmons, the agency's first SWAT officer to die in the line of duty.
Simmons, a 27-year LAPD veteran, was fatally shot Feb. 7, 2008, as officers stormed a Winnetka home at the end of a 10-hour standoff with a triple murder suspect, who was himself killed by police. Simmons was 51 at the time of his death.
"Randy was a man of faith, a husband, a father and a mentor," the LAPD tweeted Tuesday in Simmons' honor. "15 years after his death, we vow to #NeverForget."
Simmons graduated from the police academy on Jan. 26, 1981, and began his first police assignment on May 17, 1981, in Pacific Area, according to the LAPD. He served at the 77th Street Division, South Bureau, Southeast Division and eventually the Metropolitan Division. He was selected for the SWAT team in January 1991 and became assistant squad leader in December 1994.
Simmons attended Washington State University and majored in criminology. He also played cornerback on the school's football team and had dreams of going professional. Simmons attended training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, and played in a few pre-season games until he sustained an injury, prompting his switch to a career in law enforcement.
He was also a minister at Glory Christian Fellowship International Church.
"Known to his congregation as Minister Randy, he was seen as a humble and totally selfless individual that shared the unconditional love of Christ with all people he met, especially children and young adults," according to the LAPD. "His tireless commitment to the youth has been recognized throughout the state with numerous awards he has received."
He was survived by his wife and two children.