The family of an officer shot and critically wounded early Friday held out hope that their loved one would pull through as he fights for his life in an intensive care unit at a San Bernardino hospital.
Officer Gabriel Garcia was in surgery for several hours this morning. He was shot during an encounter with a gunman who was subsequently killed by Garcia's partner at 2 a.m. in the city of San Bernardino.
Paramedics rushed Garcia, 31, to the emergency room at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. He was taken into surgery for multiple life threatening bullet wounds to the upper body.
For those who know him best, including his brothers and sisters in blue, it is hard to even speak.
Garcia, who has been on the department for more than six years, was described as an exceptional member of the police force whose father is a respected captain.
The training officer is so trusted that he works nights in the most dangerous areas of the city.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said he is an outstanding young man.
"He has served this community proudly and he'll serve this community very well throughout his career," Burguan said.
In neighboring Beaumont, officers from the local police department guard his home as a sign of respect and security.
Neighbors say Garcia is a divorced dad who loves his little daughter more than anything.
They also say despite being a quiet neighbor who mostly keeps to himself, he has protected his neighborhood with the same passion he displays while wearing a badge.
"He's always looking out," said neighbor Elma, who gave no last name. "If anything goes wrong, he's always giving someone a call."
Delia Quintaniloa said she, too, holds out hope for a speedy recovery.
"Our hearts go out to the law enforcement community, the people that serve and protect us everyday," she said. "And especially, for him, for a quick recovery for him and his family."