We have an Eyewitness News exclusive report. It's been seven years since Reedley Police officer Javier Bejar was gunned down and killed in Minkler. For the first time ever, Javier's younger brother, Nelson Bejar speaks out, talking to us about how he's living out his brother's legacy by beginning his own career in law enforcement.
Nelson was only 20-years old when his older brother Javier died. He said he remembers that fateful February day in 2010 like it was yesterday. Nelson just graduated from the California Highway Patrol academy on Friday, and said much of it was inspired by his slain brother.
"Still hard to think about it, think about that day. I remember that whole day from beginning of the day to the end of the day," stated Nelson.
Nelson said he remembers the panic and the chaos that surrounded the small town of Minkler on February 25, 2010.
He said, "That morning I remember seeing a lot of police officers from different agencies all going to Sanger. So, I knew something was going on, so I actually ended up texting him asking him, 'Ay, what's going on? Do you know what's going on today?'"
Nelson didn't know his big brother Javier, who was eight years older than him, was at the center of the hours-long shootout between police and an arson suspect.
"I didn't think it was that significant. Maybe he was just injured, got struck somewhere. But never did I think it was gonna be as severe as it was," stated Nelson.
Javier was shot in the head by the suspect, and died four days later. The suspect also shot and killed Fresno County Sheriff Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier, and then turned the gun on himself.
Nelson said, "The first thing that came to his mind, which I think, 'I gotta be there, I gotta be there, I gotta help out a fellow officer, fellow brother', anything he could do, he was gonna do it. Get out there in the front of the line and lead out in the front like he always did."
Nelson said his brother is remembered for being so much more than just a police officer. Javier was his baseball coach, his mentor, "He was a big role model for me. All my brothers were, but him also."
And Javier has also become his inspiration.
"I graduated the CHP academy last Friday and I'm an officer now," announced Nelson on Wednesday.
Nelson said he wants to serve and help the community the way his big brother did. But, there is hesitation among his family. Older sister Maricela Bejar Chavez said he doesn't want another brother to get hurt.
She said, "But in the back of our mind is like, we can't forget what the realities can be. I think that's the main thing for us, just knowing what are the possibilities."
But Nelson said it's important he continues Javier's work, and believes his brother is looking down on him and protecting him like an angel.
Nelson begins his first day as a CHP officer on Monday for the Hollister-Salinas area.