By KREIG KOHL
On August 22, Officer Justin Garcia was discovered deceased in his home in San Antonio by SAPD, appearing to have passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Sgt. Washington Moscoso. The 30-year-old law enforcement officer began his career serving at the Port Isabel Police Department in 2015 before moving to and beginning work with San Antonio in 2016.
In Port Isabel Officer Garcia served alongside many officers including Captain Jose Cadengo, when he was still a Sergeant. Captain Cadengo said Officer Garcia was picked up by the department straight out of the academy, as he said, “We picked him up as a rookie, we trained him, he started off as a really good officer.”
Officer Garcia was a patrol officer in Port Isabel who, as Captain Cadengo said, “had good relations with the community.” He added, “His cases were up to par. He was a good officer. When he left to San Antonio we were kind of sad to see him leave because he was such a good officer but we understood he wanted to improve his career and go to a bigger department.”
Part of what drove Officer Garcia to Port Isabel was his love for the beach. To this end Captain Cadengo said, “I think he applied with us, Port Isabel, South Padre, and other agencies in the area, and we ended up picking him up.”
As a final statement about Officer Garcia, Captain Cadengo said, “He was a good guy, very happy person to be around.” As well as, “Even if you were having a bad day he would make you laugh and change your day and your outlook and it was very sad to have learned what had happened. It was a shock to all of us to say the least.”
The outpouring of support to his family has been immense already in the week following the tragic death of Officer Garcia as the Gofundme page set up to support his widow and children has already reached nearly 8600 dollars of its 10000-dollar goal. The page reinforces Captain Cadengo’s words on Officer Garcia stating, “He was the smile that made everyone around him smile. He was the coach/ teammate on all sports teams because he wanted everyone to be together and play to win. He was the most sarcastic, fun loving talker that we will all dearly miss.”
The kind words about Officer Garcia don’t end there though as many comments on the gofundme page continue this trend with Rebekah Tores stating, “Garcia was one of the nicest guys I had gotten to know.”
The funeral mass for Officer Garcia was held August 30 in Mission, Texas, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
Those wishing to help support Officer Garcia’s surviving family can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/
Suicide is unfortunately one of, if not the, leading causes of death for law enforcement personnel. According to a report from the Ruderman Family Foundation, not only is suicide their highest risk of death, but the two states where it is most likely are California and Texas. In 2018 the deaths from suicide numbered 159, which was also the number for 2017 and was 19 deaths higher than in 2016.
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