Tributes Pour in for Fallen LAPD Officer of the Year

Tributes began pouring in for the 26-year LAPD veteran on social media

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Los Angeles Police Department colleagues remembered Officer Chris Cortijo as a "true motor cop” who proudly served the department for 26 years. Beverly White reports from Panorama City for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014)

    A police motorcade escorted the coroner's van carrying the body of an LAPD officer who died days after he was hit by a motorist suspected of driving under the influence of cocaine.

    The procession Wednesday for Officer Chris Cortijo started at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills and ended at the coroner's office in Boyle Heights.

    Tributes began pouring in for Cortijo, a "teddy bear" of a man, who was widely loved.

    LAPD Officer in Motorcycle Crash Dies of Injuries

    [LA] LAPD Officer in Motorcycle Crash Dies of Injuries
    The LAPD confirmed on Wednesday that the motorcycle officer involved in a violent crash caused by a driver suspected of being under the influence of cocaine has died after spending four days in the hospital. Conan Nolan reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014)

    The dedicated cop was responsible for the apprehension of more than 3,000 DUI drivers in his career.

    "The ultimate in tragedy is that he gave his life up because of somebody who callously and wantonly operated a vehicle under the influence," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at a press conference. "We'll miss him. We'll honor him. Godspeed, Chris. See you on the other side."

    Garcetti, Beck Talk About Fallen Officer

    [LA] Garcetti, Beck Hold Press Conference on Officer's Death
    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck addressed the media on April 8, 2014 at LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles just hours after Officer Chris Cortijo died of injuries suffered in a crash in North Hollywood last Saturday. (Published Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014)

    Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered city flags to be flown at half staff, the second time in little over a month he has done so. The first time was for an officer killed when a truck suspected of losing its brakes crashed into the patrol car he and his partner were in as they were on their way to an emergency call.

    LAPD Officer Critically Injured in Crash

    [LA] LAPD Officer Critically Injured in Crash
    A 26-year veteran of the LAPD is in critical condition after his motorcycle was rear-ended while waiting at a red light, leaving him pinned between two vehicles. Kate Larsen reports from North Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 11 on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (Published Saturday, Apr 5, 2014)

    "All of us know every single day that every single one of the Los Angeles Police Department who suit up and go out, go out on what may be their last day," Garcetti said. "But the tragedy of this situation ... remind all of us of the sacrifice that our bravest heroes make."

    Tyler Izen, the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), the union that represents the rank-and-file officers, said in a statement that LAPD officers are saddened by his death.

    Driver Detained After Crash With LAPD Officer

    [LA] Driver Detained After Crash With LAPD Officer
    The female driver of an SUV that crashed into an LAPD veteran, leaving him critically injured, was detained Sunday morning on suspicion of being under the influence at the time of the crash. Reggie Kumar reports live for Today in LA on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Published Sunday, Apr 6, 2014)

    "Our hearts are broken," he said. "We extend our deepest condolences to the Cortijo family, friends and coworkers."

    Sgt. Kurt Smith called Cortijo, a two-time officer of the year, a "true motor cop."

    Woman Arrested After Crash With LAPD Motorcycle Officer

    [LA] Woman Arrested After Crash With LAPD Motorcycle Officer
    A 33-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after her SUV struck a Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer from behind, leaving him hospitalized in critical condition. Kate Larsen reports from Mission Hills for the NBC4 News at 6 on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Published Sunday, Apr 6, 2014)

    "He was, in so many ways," Smith said. "But a teddy bear, if you knew him."

    During the past few days Smith said he heard a couple of personal stories about his Valley Traffic Division friend, "caring things he had done that reflected the best of who we can be."

    Officer Remains in Critical Condition

    [LA] LAPD Motorcycle Officer Remains in Critical Condition
    A Los Angeles Police Department motorcycle officer was in a medically-induced coma in critical condition after being struck by a suspected DUI driver Saturday. Kate Larsen reports from Mission Hills for the NBC4 News at 11 on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Published Monday, Apr 7, 2014)

    "He didn't advertise these things," Smith said. "I was fortunate to hear these, and to have known him.  We at VTD, and LAPD, are lesser because of this loss."

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a statement, extending her "heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Cortijo."

    Larger Than Expected Turnout for LAPD Officer Blood Drive

    [LA] Larger Than Expected Turnout for LAPD Officer Blood Drive
    Fellow police officers and total strangers turned out to help an LAPD officer in critical condition Monday. The motorcycle officer was struck by an SUV on Friday. Police say the woman behind the wheel may have been high on drugs. Kathy Vara reports from Mission Hills for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 7, 2014. (Published Monday, Apr 7, 2014)

    The Los Angeles Police Department and California’s entire law enforcement community have lost a brave and dedicated colleague," she wrote. "Officer Cortijo’s dedication to protect and serve the people of California will never be forgotten.”

    Cortijo grew up in Southern California, served in the Marine Corps and returned to serve his city, Garcetti said.

    Flowers now adorn the Valley Traffic Division lobby, where Cortijo's name will be added to a tribute for the fallen.

    Cortijo died after suffering critical injuries on Saturday. He was hit by an SUV while he was stopped at a red light at Saticoy Street and Lankershim Boulevard. The collision pinned him between the SUV and the vehicle in front of him.

    Qaneak Shaney Cobb, 33, of Pacoima was charged Tuesday with one felony count each of driving under the influence of a drug causing injury and possession of a controlled substance, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She pleaded not guilty.

    Cobb, who has prior convictions for grand theft and drug possession, faces more than 10 years in state prison if convicted, prosecutors said.

    The District Attorney is weighing whether to upgrade the charges against her.

    On Monday, the officer was in a medically induced coma at Providence, where a large turnout of people from across Southern California showed up that day to donate blood in his honor.

    The Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union has opened a donation account to support Cortijo's family. Those who would like to mail in a donation can write a check payable to "Blue Ribbon Trust for Christopher Cortijo" and send it to:

    Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union
    Attn: Blue Ribbon Christopher Cortijo
    P.O. Box 10188
    Van Nuys, CA 91410

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