Jose “Andy” Chavez, an off-duty police officer in Elmore, lost his life this month while celebrating his birthday with family and friends.
His death is a tragic loss for his family, and for the region. Officer Chavez, 26, was one of three people killed at the Last Call Bar in Fremont on March 9. Police believe there may have been a dispute between him and the alleged shooter, Igmidio Mista, 33, a Philippine national living in Fremont.
When an officer dies, even if it is not in the line of duty, it is a traumatic event for the community. The fact that Mr. Chavez was buried last Saturday with police honors eases the pain a bit.
Speakers at the ceremony described Mr. Chavez as a family man and an exemplary officer, who was proud of his job and loved the community he served. They said he was devoted to his wife and two young children.
“Andy was always around when you needed him,” Elmore Police Chief George Hayes said. “He was dedicated to his family. He talked about them all the time.”
Officer Chavez’s untimely death provides a reminder that no good comes from disputes that are settled with handguns. What started as a joyous time will now haunt his family forever.
In hindsight, all of those who were involved will likely realize that the reported dispute was petty and not worth ending lives over. But the realization that violence is not the answer needs to be societal, not individual.
Officer Chavez’s service to his community, and his role as a husband and father, were cut short by a bullet. Such a cruel loss will never be forgotten.