A Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer who was struck by an SUV driven by an alleged impaired driver in Sun Valley died Wednesday afternoon, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced.
Officer Chris Cortijo was struck around 5:30 p.m. Saturday while waiting at a red light at Lankershim Boulevard and Saticoy Street.
L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Garcetti gathered to offer condolences and speak about Cortijo's life at a press conference Wednesday.
"His death was preventable and that adds to the great tragedy of his passing," Garcetti said. "This has been a tough time for our police department, and this incident highlights the dangers our officers face every day."
Chief Beck pointed out the irony in Cortijo's being killed by a suspected DUI driver, saying that he spent the majority of his career keeping citizens safe from those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and noting that he was twice honored as LAPD officer of the year.
"The ultimate in tragedy is that he gave his life up because of somebody who callously and wantonly operated a vehicle while under the influence," Beck said. "We'll miss him. We'll honor him. Godspeed, Chris. We'll see you on the other side."
Listen to the full press conference below:
The L.A. Police Federal Credit Union is collecting donations to Cortijo's family. You can find info on how to donate at their site.
Update 5:30 p.m.: Police officers' union: Our 'hearts are broken'
The president of the Los Angeles Police Protective Union said its members' "hearts are broken" following news of Officer Cortijo's death. President Tyler Izen released a press statement:
The LAPPL is saddened to learn of the tragic death of Officer Christopher Cortijo who was killed upholding the oath he swore: To protect his community. We extend our deepest condolences to the Cortijo family, friends and coworkers. Officer Cortijo paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to his community. We ask that the community please keep Officer Cortijo and his family in their prayers, and remember the sacrifices paid by law enforcement officers to keep our communities safe.
The LAPD's Valley Traffic Division, where the officer worked, announced the his death via Twitter, saying, "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart we regret to announce the passing of our LAPD Brother in Blue. RIP We will miss you!" Similar sentiments appeared on the LAPD's Facebook page.
LAPD Capt. Maureen Ryan tweeted, "Thank you for all your hard work and dedication you will be greatly missed. RIP brother. Our thoughts & prayers remain with your family."
A Pacoima woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of driving under the influence of a drug and possession of cocaine.
Qaneak Shaney Cobb, 33, is accused of slamming her Chevrolet Blazer into the veteran officer as he was stopped at the intersection. The impact left the officer trapped between the Blazer and a Honda Accord that was in front of him.
It was not immediately known if she would face additional charges following the officer's death.
Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated suspect Qaneak Shaney Cobb's age. Thanks to our commenters for pointing out the error.