SJPD Honors 11 Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Jeffrey Fontana's mother called the ceremony "lovely"

Thursday, May 30, 2013  |  Updated 2:28 PM PDT
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SJPD Honors 11 Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Jeff Burbank

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More than 100 officers, elected officials and civilians today attended a memorial and flag ceremony at San Jose police headquarters for the 11 officers who have died while on duty in the city since 1924.

In front of a stage, an honor detail officer saluted large black-and-white photos of each of the 11 officers, and a bell tolled as Acting Deputy Chief Jeff Marozick read the officers' names and how they died.

Dozens of police officers in full uniform stood in formation and saluted as a color guard lowered American, California and San Jose police flags outside the department's headquarters at 201 W. Mission St.

Acting Chief Larry Esquivel, Lt. Dave Santos and Officer Jay Tuttle participated in the laying of a wreath after the flags were lowered to half-staff.

"It was a lovely ceremony and very befitting to our officers," said 62-year-old Sandy Fontana, the mother of Jeffrey Fontana, who was the last San Jose police officer killed in the line of duty. A motorist shot Jeffrey Fontana, 24, on Oct. 28, 2001, during a traffic stop only two weeks after he started solo patrol duty, his mother said.

"He always wanted to be an officer," said Fontana, a Woodside resident. His brother, 33-year-old Greg Fontana of Santa Rosa, concurred. "Growing up, that's what he wanted to do," Greg said. "He wanted to be part of the city of San Jose and give back."

Family members of four other fallen officers -- Robert White, Robert Wirht, Gene Simpson and Gordon Silva -- also attended the ceremony. Officials at the service included Mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

The ceremony, which was the 19th held by San Jose to honor its fallen officers, was the first to take place at police headquarters instead of outside San Jose City Hall.

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