PONCE, PR – A Puerto Rico Police sergeant was fatally shot earlier in June while conducting a traffic stop in Ponce.
Officials say that the slain police sergeant had conducted the stop after witnessing a traffic violation despite being on his lunch break.
Falleció en medio de una intervención en Ponce. https://t.co/r326BDVEpw
— Telenoticias (@TelenoticiasPR) June 14, 2021
On June 10th, 50-year-old Sergeant Erasmo García Torres had observed a traffic violation during his lunch break and proceeded to conduct a traffic stop at the intersection of Calle Villa and Calle Venus in Ponce.
The driver, later identified as Bryan Ramos Rivera, had reportedly tried to flee from Sergeant García Torres after briefly interacting. When the sergeant continued to follow the suspect, officials say that Rivera shot Sergeant García Torres in the head.
Rivera was reportedly arrested after the incident and has since been charged with murder.
Sergeant García Torres, who was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously Puerto Rico Police Bureau Commissioner Antonio López Figueroa, was part of the Ponce Motorized Unit.
The sergeant was mere weeks away from his 30th anniversary with the Puerto Rico Police, having first joined back on June 28th of 1991.
Prior to being with the Ponce Motorized Unit, Sergeant García Torres worked with the Tactical Operations Divisions for Guayama and Aibonito, narcotics, and the Guayama Drug Court program.
Dozens were said to have attended a memorial service that was held on June 13th at the Centro de Bellas Artes, Adrián Rosado Guzmán, in Villalba.
Engel García Colón, one of Sergeant García Torres’ four children, spoke during the June 13th service, noting that his father always seemed to have the right advice and was responsible for instilling the values he carries today.
Villalba Mayor Luis Javier Hernández Ortiz had decreed a three-day mourning period after Sergeant García Torres’ death.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi shared his condolences for the loss of Sergeant García Torres’:
“My condolences to the entire family of this Puerto Rican hero, who for 28 years protected the lives of all of us in Puerto Rico and made the greatest sacrifice of giving his life.
“I deeply regret the pain of the family, loved ones and fellow police officers of Agent Erasmo García, for this terrible loss that we all feel. Our people join their family in prayer and solidarity, we trust that God will fill them with strength and comfort in the face of the pain they suffer.”
Governor Pierluisi also thanked the police that worked so quickly to arrest the man accused of murdering Sergeant García Torres:
“To our Police, I reiterate my unconditional support and I thank them for their agile and effective work that led to the prompt arrest of the suspect in this vile murder. Together we will continue working for a Puerto Rico in which we promote respect for life and human dignity.”
The fallen police sergeant was said to have been the recipient of numerous commendations and awards during his near 30 years’ of service.
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Earlier in June, Law Enforcement Today reported on the unfortunate passing of a Holly Springs Police officer who was also killed during a traffic stop.
Here’s that previous report.
HOLLY SPRINGS, GA – In an update to a previous report from us at Law Enforcement Today, officials have identified the officer killed during a traffic stop earlier in June as Holly Springs Police Officer Joseph Burson.
Officer Burson is reportedly the first Holly Springs Police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
🔹 Blessed Are The Peacemakers 🔹
Police Officer Joe Burson
Holly Springs Police Department, Georgia
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) June 17, 2021
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation held a news conference on the afternoon of June 17th to provide further details about the traffic stop that turned fatal during the evening of June 16th.
Officials say that 25-year-old Officer Burson had attempted to conduct a traffic stop for speeding at approximately 11:00 p.m. on June 16th.
The driver of the vehicle, identified as 29-year-old Ansy Dolce, had reportedly dragged the officer with his vehicle during the stop, which led to Officer Burson sustaining fatal injuries.
However, officials say that Officer Burson was able to open fire on the suspect during the incident, fatally wounding Dolce, with the driver careening off the road and into a ditch after being shot.
During the press conference on June 17th, Holly Springs Police Chief Tommy Keheley had described Officer Burson as being an ideal officer:
“If you had the ability to clone police officers, you would have wanted your officer to be Joe Burson. He will be greatly missed.”
The 25-year-old officer had only been with the department for slightly over a year before his passing, joining the Holly Springs Police Department in January of 2020.
Officer Burson’s death has clearly shaken some in the community.
Local Holly Springs resident Wanda Winant, who works at the Exxon station on Holly Springs Parkway (considered to be the main gas station in the town), described the town as one of the “safest places” to reside in the state:
“This is one of the safest places to live. I don’t even lock my doors, my car, nothing, you know? When something like this happens, it’s just sad.”
Police Chief Keheley finds the officer’s death truly saddening, noting that the stop was nothing more than a speeding violation that shouldn’t have resulted in Officer Burson’s murder:
“He was just a genuinely good individual…It was a simple stop and the bottom line is, every bit of this could have been avoided.”
Outside of being a police officer, Officer Burson also was the drummer of the local hard rock band Rusted Soul. On the band’s Facebook page, they shared their grief over the loss of their friend and bandmate:
“The RUSTED SOUL Band & Their Families regretfully inform everyone that , last night , our long term Drummer, Friend and Brother, Joe Burson was killed in the line of Duty in his job as a Holly Springs Police Officer. He leaves behind a wife & all of us who Love him . Please pray for his Family’s strength, at this time , and understand with patience our time to grieve this passing. Viewing and Funeral Arrangements will be [released] here only by the immediate Family’s advance approval.”
GBI Assistant Director John Melvin shared his condolences on Facebook, noting that he and Officer Burson attended the Police Academy together, highlighting the bond that was forged between them and their class:
“I lost a good friend today. It hurts more than I can express.”
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