‘Lost a True Hero': LA County Sheriff's Deputy Dies 24 Years After Being Shot in Head

He died as a result of injuries he suffered in the December 1994 shooting, the union said

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy wounded 24 years ago when he was shot in the head during a traffic stop in Rowland Heights has died, it was announced Wednesday. 

Steven Belanger died Tuesday as a result of injuries he suffered in the December 1994 shooting, according to the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union representing the department's deputies.

Belanger was 29, a married father of a 1-year-old daughter and a seven-year LASD veteran when he was shot by a 20-year-old man on a skateboard, a bullet lodging in his brain, unable to be removed, according to ALADS and a Los Angeles Times article published in the weeks after the shooting.

"His retirement, ongoing health issues and ultimately his death ... were related to the shooting," according to an ALADS statement.

ALADS President Ron Hernandez extended condolences to Belanger's family, friends and co-workers and said the county "lost a true hero."

"While he was shot in the line of duty over two decades ago, Steve and his family bravely faced the challenges of his injuries up until his passing," Hernandez said. "Steve's death is a tragic loss that reminds us of the risks that law enforcement officers take every day to keep us safe. His service and sacrifice will never be forgotten."

The gunman, Matthew Hagemann of Rowland Heights, described as a friend of an assault suspect who was pulled over and being questioned by Belanger, fatally shot himself a few hours after he wounded the deputy, according to The Times.

Funeral services for Belanger will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Pomona Valley Memorial Park Mausoleum at 502 E. Franklin Ave. in Pomona.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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