Neighboring police departments patrolled the streets of South Pas while mourned the loss of Officer Kevin Sandoval, 23, who after collapsing and hitting his head at the Burro Canyon Shooting range Tuesday.
Sandoval, or "Sandy" as some of his peers at Rio Hondo Police Academy called him, lived in Covina but was a familiar face to the residents of South Pas. He had been an officer in the city for two years after serving as a cadet for 18 months.
With the flag hung at half staff, South Pas Watch Commander Sgt. Tony Abdalla gave a at the department Tuesday afternoon. Abdalla explained that although Sandoval was participating in a firearms training day at the time of his death, firearms were not involved in the accident.
"We are not sure why yet, but at some point he lost consciousness, fell to the ground and hit his head," Abdalla told various news outlets.
"There are some unanswered questions that we can’t answer now due to the uncertainty and the early stages of the investigation," Police Chief Joseph Payne later said in an e-mail Tuesday night. "We hope to have more information from the medical examiner tomorrow."
Paramedics, who are members of the Pasadena Police Department's Special Weapons Team, came to Sandoval's aid, according to authorities. He was then flown to Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora where he was declared dead at about 3 p.m.
"[Kevin] is what I would categorize as probably the best police officer that we would be fortunate as a City and community to find," said Abdalla. "He was very proactive, very community oriented—just exemplified what we look for in a police officer, and it is a huge loss."
In a 34-officer department where "everybody looks out for everybody, it's a tough loss, " Abdalla continued, also mentioning the last time a South Pas Officer died was in 1944.
Community members, such as Former Police Chief Dan Watson and those that recognized Sandoval from around town, shared their thoughts via Patch and Facebook about the officer Tuesday night. Here's a look into what they had to say:
"It was my privilege to hire Kevin Sandoval as a Cadet, Reserve Officer, and regular Police Officer. He was a fine young man with a bright future. Quiet, humble, and serious about being the best police officer he could be. This is a very sad day for the South Pasadena Police Department. My sincere condolences to Kevin's family, his extended family with SPPD, and the entire community for this tragic loss."
Former South Pas Police Chief , via Patch
Very Sad!!! He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers! I would see him around town all the time! :( God Bless him!!!!
Kevin was with class 6 @ Rio Hondo Police academy. He was like a lil brother to me. He was my class mate @ the academy and a great friend. We will all miss him. He was known to all of us as Sandy, short for Sandoval....
, via Patch
My heartfelt condolences to member of the SPPD, they are a close family and he will be sorely missed. In my many encounters with Sandoval he was a dedicated and professional officer and a credit to community he worked for, he will be missed. Not only a loss to the department but to our community as well. To the members of the department he left behind, my sincerest sympathy on your loss.
, via Patch