LEMOORE, California (KSEE) – The community of Lemoore came together Thursday night to pay their respects to fallen Lemoore Police Officer Johnathan Diaz.
Jonathan Diaz, 31, was shot and killed after intervening during a domestic violence incident while off-duty on Nov. 2 in Hanford.
“You just think you are protected from these types of things because you are in a small town but maybe no one is safe. It can happen to anyone,” said Lemoore resident Isabel Espinoza.
Espinoza is one of hundreds of people who came to Saint Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic Church for Diaz’s public viewing and vigil.
“Jonathan was a hero. He was a hero to his family. He was a hero to us. And he was a hero for what he did that night,” said Lemoore Police Sgt. Mark Pescatore.
In 2018 Officer Diaz earned the badge of “Officer of the Year.” Thursday night, his fellow officers wore his badge, showing his number, 1812.
“All of his younger siblings looked up to him as a father figure, so it’s hard for us, but ten times harder for them,” said Sgt. Pescatore.
As Diaz’s family says their final goodbyes, strangers become new family.
“There’s so much sadness in the world and if we can come at least let the family know, they aren’t alone,” said Espinoza.
“I’ll put this community above any community in the world. It’s hands down, the greatest place to work and live,” said Sgt. Pescatore.
The public is invited to Officer Jonathan Diaz’s funeral mass and burial beginning Friday at 10 a.m. at Saint Peter Prince of the Apostles Catholic Church in Lemoore, and ending at the Sunflower Fields Cemetery where he will be laid to rest.