Two years after a Phoenix police officer was killed while handcuffing a theft suspect, about 250 people showed up to memorialize him.
Officer George Cortez was honored Monday on the anniversary of his death, according to poignant write-up on the Phoenix Police Department's Web site. Thousands of people showed up for the first service two years ago, during which a police dispatcher broadcast the words, "834 Henry. Goodnight, sir. You'll be greatly missed." The blurb goes on to say:
That simple, final statement can bring a grown man to his knees, fill a heart with the deepest sorrow, and perhaps pay the ultimate respect for a member of law enforcement who gave his life in the line-of-duty.
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The statement does contain a quiet power. We also get a chill from the way a Web site for cops who were killed on duty euphemizes the officer's death date as "End of Watch." Our non-cynical side reminds us who cops like Cortez are supposed to be watching out for: us.
True, Cortez had his shortcomings,as a husband. But he was a young guy with two kids and most assuredly didn't deserve to get shot. As the Arizona Republic reported last week, Cortez's wife, Tiffany, wants the world to know how much she loved her husband.
Edward Rose, the alleged shooter, and a woman who was with him at the time of the cop-killing, Norma Lopez, are scheduled for trial on March 1.