FRESNO, California.- After being hospitalized for 13 months, Fresno State Police Chief David Huerta passed away on August 16th surrounded by his family at USCF Medical Center.
His family said he had been hospitalized for more than a year after undergoing a double lung transplant. The family told our station the Huerta received the transplant after he was diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs.
In a statement, his family spoke to Huerta’s character:
“In true David Huerta fashion, our Chief championed through the last 13 months. He put his entire heart into healing for himself, his family, and the community cheering for his recovery. Swedish First Hill in Seattle gave him a second chance at life and we are forever grateful for their fight. The medical staff at UCSF continued that fight for 13 more months, until complications from his lung transplant were too much for his body to handle. Chief touched so many lives, probably more than he would ever know. His absence will leave a void that no one will be able to fill but the legacy that he leaves behind is plenty. His commitment to his family, work, friends, and colleagues was unwavering, and the light he brought when he walked into a room will forever be missed. To all the people who reached out, wrote cards, and sent prayers along the way we are so thankful. You have left a mark on our family that we will never forget. To our biggest fan, we love you as big as the sky, Chief.”
Fresno State Vice President of Administration Debbie Adishian-Astone said Huerta will always be remembered on campus.
“He was always our Chief,” said Adishian-Astone. “He always will be. He will always have a special place here at Fresno State.”
Huerta became the Univerity’s Chief in August 2004 after a distinguished career with the Fresno Sheriff’s Office for 30 years. During his time as a Sheriff Lieutenant, Huerta was awarded a medal for 22 years of SWAT work and an Officer of the Year award from the American Legion.
Huerta originally retired from the Sheriff’s Office but decided to come out of retirement to take the job as Fresno State Police Chief. Adishian-Astone said from the moment he walked on campus, he became one of the most loved colleagues.
“He made many important contributions to ensure the safety of our campus community, for which we will be forever grateful. David was a true gentleman who always cared about others before himself, and his legacy of law-enforcement leadership will never be forgotten. Our campus community has lost a dear friend and colleague,” said Adishian-Astone.
During Huerta’s time as Chief, the department grew from 11 officers to 27. On top of that, recently the department received accreditation.