Community 'distraught' after Salinas police officer gunned down during traffic stop

·2 min read

Residents across the Central Coast are expressing shock and sadness over the shooting death of Salinas police officer Jorge David Alvarado, who was killed Friday night.

People have flooded the police department building to drop off flowers and cards.

Members of MC Blue, a local organization of community members in support of police, also made their way downtown to display blue-striped flags, honoring all those in police service.

Passers-by honked their horns in support.

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Community members said they woke up to the news on social media and were compelled to show support.

"It broke my heart," said organizer Lyle Skeen said. "My heart told me to come out here to show my support and mourn the officer."

Lyle Skeen holds a Thin Blue Line flag as he mourns the death of Jorge David Alvarado, an officer killed in the line of duty in Salinas, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
Lyle Skeen holds a Thin Blue Line flag as he mourns the death of Jorge David Alvarado, an officer killed in the line of duty in Salinas, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

Donna Lizama said that when she heard the news from friends, she was immediately concerned for a relative who currently works for the department.

"I just teared up and started crying. It's sad," she said. "We talked and he's OK. I asked him if was OK for me to come, or if it was too much to come out here and he said, 'No, it's OK. The community really needs to see support.' "

Debbie O'Connor says she was "distraught" with the news and also felt it was important to show up Saturday afternoon.

An officer of the Salinas Fire Department wipes tears from her eyes during a press conference addressing the officer killed in the line of duty in Salinas, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
An officer of the Salinas Fire Department wipes tears from her eyes during a press conference addressing the officer killed in the line of duty in Salinas, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

"We all need to stand up for our officers and it's hard when it hits home," she said.

Skeen said the group hopes more people will join throughout the day to show support, but adds there are other concerns beneath the surface, citing the ongoing tension between society and police nationwide.

"I think people are afraid to show their support because of retaliation," he said.

Skeen and other community members said this incident puts into question if officers have enough resources to protect the city amid rising violent crime.

Salinas residents look towards a crime scene where a Salinas Police Department officer killed in the line of duty in Salinas, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
Salinas residents look towards a crime scene where a Salinas Police Department officer killed in the line of duty in Salinas, Calif., on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

Lizama expressed her gratitude for the local police and fire departments who were present at the scene on Friday and again on Saturday.

"The sheriffs in Santa Cruz, Watsonville officers are stepping up and taking care of our community while our officers take the time to get through it," she said. "It sends a message of unity."

During Saturday's press conference and during a flag lowering ceremony outside the department building, multiple officers and city leaders were overcome with emotion as they wept and embraced each other.

Multiple county leaders and Salinas residents have taken to social media to express their condolences and support for the fallen officer, his family and the police department.

This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Community 'distraught' after Salinas police officer gunned down during traffic stop