Family members, friends and hundreds of fellow law enforcement personnel gathered in Diamond Bar to pay their respects to fallen Deputy Thomas Albanese.
SID GARCIA: Good morning, Phil. Let's take you inside the service right now. We are here at the Calvary Chapel Golden Springs Church and as you mentioned, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is eulogizing the fallen deputy, Deputy Thomas Albeniz. As you mentioned, members of the family, colleagues, friends, and a number of law enforcement representatives from across Southern California are in attendance here. Let's listen in.
- I'm learning so much every day and look forward to continuing this learning process as I advance my career. My family is supportive and I realize that without that I would have lost it all. I plan on doing my best every day in making my meaning known to all those serve with.
I mourn for someone I never knew. And that kills me.
I mourn the loss of Joe Salano and Brajoy Least, Tom, and 14 other people in the last three months. This has been a rough a rough three months but it pales in comparison to the loss of your family. So I stand with you.
And as the Reverend said, it's been a tough time in law enforcement. There are people screaming at the tops of their lungs that somehow cops are bad.
- Let's go ahead and show you video we shot earlier this morning, less than an hour ago. It was about 10:20 this morning. The hearse arrived as members of Deputy Albeniz's family and his fellow deputies took his coffin inside the church. It's been a tough time the past three weeks.
You may recall Thomas Albeniz was a motorcycle officer stationed out of Pico Rivera. He was working overtime the day of the crash for the Lakewood station, a station he used to work out of. It was back on the morning of February 25th. It was a Thursday.
He was attempting a traffic stop near the intersection of Paramount and Del Amo Boulevards in Lakewood, when he got into the intersection. That's when he was hit by a Mercedes sedan. The sheriff that day said he died instantly.
Deputy Albeniz was a seven year veteran of the department. He was also a United States Marine Corps veteran serving four deployments. Three of those deployments were in Iraq. He was only 41 years old.
He is survived by his wife and two young sons, their ages 11 and seven. I could tell you that from here, the graveside service will be private. But as you heard the emotional eulogy by Sheriff Villanueva, it has been a tough time for law enforcement because Thomas was described to me by some deputies as very humble and doing what he wanted to do.
He wanted to be a motorcycle officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department so he was living his dream and he just wanted to serve. But the one term I heard a lot of in the past few days was he was a very humble man who just wanted to serve his community. He was only 41 years old and as I mentioned, survived by his wife, his two young boys, and his law enforcement family.