Photos: Tom and Nadin Abbott
Video: Tom Abbott
Editor’s note: The family requested that the church service have no media, we are respecting their wishes. While we took photos of the feed, we are not running any of them.
August 5, 2016 (El Cajon) Officer Jonathan “JD” DeGuzman’s body arrived at Shadow Mountain Church at 10:00 in the morning. He came escorted by over 600 marked vehicles, and 400 more unmarked. Officers came from across the country, and the world. The church grounds are at capacity, upwards of 5000 people, who came to the service.
There were flags and blue ribbons lining the route, that were likely put there by citizens. On the way back from Shadow Mountain Church we saw signs of “we love SDPD” and a young child carrying a sign that read “blue lives matter.”
Arrival of the procession at Shadow Mountain Church
San Diego Police Department Chaplain Chuck Price broke some as he read a letter that officer Wade Irving wrote and gave him last night. Officer Irving is still at the hospital recovering from injuries and was the partner of officer John “JD” DeGuzman, who fell on the line of duty on July 28 around 11:00 at night. Through the Chaplain Officer Irving shared his experience and memories of JD. Price read the letter, “ever since I was little, a little boy, was be like my dad and be a police officer. I was looking to get hired by SDPD in 2007. I soon realized all I wanted to do was to be a gang suppression unit officer.”
Price continued reading the letter, “about two months ago my wish came through and I was transferred to GST. I was lucky enough to ride with JD on occasion. JD made me feel so welcomed and was always praising and encouraging me. JD would often speak about his humble beginnings. JD had a deep love for his wife and children. JD always made time for his family. I will always cherish the memories we made. You will always be in my heart.”
This was the beginning of a very emotional service, inside Shadow Mountain Community Church. JD came from Qualm Stadium, with a full police escort. Marked vehicles were not just his brothers and sisters of the San Diego Police Department. but also of departments as far north as Oregon, and east as Louisiana and the New York Police Department. When the procession came in, led by officers riding motorcycles, those were easily 100 vehicles from San Diego Police, the Sherifs, units from all over the state. and the country.
The honor guard waited to take the flag draped coffin into the church sanctuary, where 5,000 people, both uniformed officers and members from the community gathered. Well, not all in the sanctuary, there was no space. They had to use two overflow rooms. And we suspect many others watched from home.
During the service California Attorney General Kamala Harris spoke, as well as San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer. The stories from the officers who served with JD cut close to the heart. One of them was Sergeant Allan Butchard, JD’s sergeant at the Gang Suppression Unit. He said, “I stand here before everybody with a very heart.” He was speaking for the Gang Unit. He said, “I had the good fortune, the pleasure, and the honor to work with JD for the past two and a half years as his sergeant.” He recalled that JD was a go getter, and a man who always volunteered to do whatever was needed, and get the job done.
Sergeant Butchard recounted something else. His office overlooks the peace officer’s memorial by police headquarters. “Over the past week I watched citizens, strangers we don’t know, come up, leave balloons, notes, flowers, everything. It is a wonderful thing to see. But I only wish they had known JD.”
Butchard said that JD “was always positive, always smiling, in fact, when he was 10 t0 15 feet from you is when the smile started.” He added, that JD was “one of the most respectful people I have ever met.”
JD was willing to volunteer to do the mundane duties, but also the more dangerous duties. He recently joined SWAT and was always looking for forwards for those duties. In fact, the sergeant said that the last thing SWAT officers give up are their pins. But they gave up their pins, on a flag that was going to go with JD.
Sergeant Butchard also mentioned something else. When there were parties, JD was on JD time (as in late) but always brought a tray of Lumpias, a traditional Pilipino dish, where he grew up.
Officer Cassie Ericsson spoke of the first time he met JD, some years back and how he was a go getter, and went after it, to get the bad guys. So did Sergeant John Iammarino. Their careers crossed often. He was JD’s Field Training Officer many years ago, his first FTO. Their first patrol and JD was a go getter, to go catch bad guys, and he believed firmly in good and evil.
He wanted to be the best he could be, and once he got there, he set the bar even higher.
His family spoke as well. His mother Fe de Guzman, spoke about her son. She said, “he was a follower of the lord, a family man, an outstanding member of the San Diego Police Department, and the community. But most importantly to me, he was my son.” With that, his mother broke down into tears. She repeated it, “he was my son.” She then continued.
“Jonathan was my first child, and the eldest in this generation in our family. He was not just the older brother to not only his siblings, but to all his cousins.” Fe also stated the same common thread that everybody else spoke about. JD cared for people and wanted to help people.
Fe added that people should cherish family, and tell them they love them. You never know.
Finally his son spoke, his 17 year old son. That is Jonathan, who carries the same same name as his father. Jonathan spoke about how people have been telling him stories about his dad. He said about his father, “He always was an ambitious man. He always wanted to strive for more and never settle.” He also pushed his son to pursue his dreams.
JD’s daughter did thank everybody for coming, but she is ten.
The dreams the his have include filming and acting, but some months back he was willing to become a physical therapist. His father was angry with him, for not pursuing his dreams, and giving up before even trying. His father promised to be there with him, but now he won’t be, and that includes his prom night. JD’s son is in his senior year at high school.
Like everybody else, Jonathan spoke of his father as a man who always wanted to be a protector. He wishes that he spent more time with his father. Though he will cherish the memories of watching movies with his dad, and their passion for “Game of Thrones.”
Today it is about the department. It is also about the family, and Chief Shelley Zimmerman told JD’s children the same thing again, that she has told them before. Their father was a hero, and their father loved them. The Chief also crossed paths professionally with JD and was first his lieutenant and later his Captain.
The chief also remarked one of the things that JD used to say, from early on in his career. “Much work to do, must catch the bad guys.” She also said that he always did the best he could and was an exemplary officer. She also recalled when as a Lt. for the Mid City Division, she told JD’s wife, Jane, that he was going to be ok after he was stabbed early in his career. This time around, she again recounted, that she knew that was not going to be the case.
While Mayor Falconer and Attorney General Kamala Harris spoke, their words did not have the impact that the officers did. So next time, and this is a request from Sergeant Iammarino, you go out to Karaoke, join up in “Careless Whisper.” They asked for people to do it in his name.
The governor was present but did not speak.
After the ceremony inside, bags and fifes were played as officers, 2000 of them, formed up in ranks. These were from police cadets, picking up the rear, to officers and even Chiefs in the ranks. They waited for the bagpipes, and drum and fife, and then the honor guard. The casket was taken to a high point, and a 21 gun salute was done.
A bugler played Taps, as officers stood saluting.
After that, the police left for the cemetery in Bonita, where Officer DeGuzman was laid to rest.
His last patrol was July 28, 2016.
This is a roll call of Departments we saw. We doubt we saw all departments present.
New York Police Department
Salinas Police Department
Tucson Police Department
Visalia Police Department
Phoenix Police Department
LA County Sherifs
Los Angeles Police Department
Bell Gardens Police Department
City of Escondido Police Department
Chula Vista Police Department
Portland Police Bureau
Spokane County Sherifs (Washington State)_
Chicago Police Department
City of Henderson Police Department
Oceanside Police Department
San Diego County Sherifs
Imperial County Sherifs
Redding Police Department
Department of Homeland Security
El Cajon Police Department
Orange County Sherifs
Los Angeles Airport Police Department
San Jose Police Department
National City Police Department
Riverside County Sherriffs
Mendocino Police Department
Orange Police Department
San Meteo County Sherifs
Coronado Police Department
United States Marine Corp Military Police
Tulane County Sherifs
Mendocino Sheriffs Department Alhambra Police Department
Montebello Police Department
Westminster Police Department
Newport Beach Police
California Department of Corrections
Tuscan Police Department
Oxnard Police Department
Minneapolis Police Department
California Highway Patrol
Huntington Park Police
Louisiana State Police
Policia Municipal de Tijuana and we Believed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Among other first responders we saw personnel from State Parks, CAL FIRE and the San Diego Fire Department, as well as American Medical Response and Rural Metro.