Colleagues gathered at a reception Monday to honor the life of Los Angeles Police Detective Ernest Allen, who was killed Friday in a cement truck crash in Beverly Hills.
Members of the LAPD shared their memories of Allen at the Southwest Community police station where he served for 15 years.
"I’m not afraid to say that I’ve probably cried about seven or eight times now," Lt. Julian Melendez said. “But today we’re gathering as a work family, we’re working through our sadness.”
His colleagues echoed LAPD Chief Charlie Beck's sentiment about their fallen friend as a family man.
"How many guys Ernie's age sit and watch a basketball game with his mom? It shows you the type of guy he was," Detective Victor McDowell said.
Officers told NBC4 that Allen, nicknamed "Big E," was well-liked and looked up to in the department.
"(He was) so generous with his knowledge and expertise and experience, and giving it to a young detective," said Detective Nathan Baez, who saw Allen as his mentor. "It hits you. That just happened to my boy. It's tough."
"The coming days and weeks ahead will be very challenging for us all as we attempt to understand and make sense of Ernie's passing," said Capt. Paul Snell in a statement. "We can do so by remembering that Ernie brought so many gifts to all our lives and we must now hold on to those memories for comfort."
The 27-year veteran was in a pickup truck around 2 p.m. Friday when a cement truck slammed into his vehicle at Loma Vista and Doheny drives, about 25 yards from where LAPD officer Nicholas Lee died in a traffic collision in March.
“Ernie's untimely death yesterday is yet another reminder to us all that we must never take one another and/or life for granted and that we need to live each day to the fullest,” Snell said.
Allen is survived by his mother Sarah, fiancée Lakisa, and children Ernie Jr. and Latrice, according to the statement.
NBC4's Ted Chen contributed to this report.