Posted: Oct 13, 2012 7:24 PM
EL PASO, Texas - Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for an off-duty El Paso police officer who died days after being viciously beaten, including many fellow officers who wept over his senseless death.
Officer Jonathan Molina was buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery after a memorial service Friday, where law enforcement officers from Texas and New Mexico were among those who gathered to pay their respects.
He died Oct. 5, 10 days after he was attacked when he approached some men about keying his car.
Authorities say after Molina told them he was an officer, one man punched him and grabbed his legs, causing his head to hit the concrete.
The man kept punching the officer until a witness came to his aid, according to court documents.
Molina, 29, was taken to a hospital after the Sept. 25 attack, where he remained in critical condition until his death.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, 17, has been charged with capital murder in Molina's death.
At the service Friday, Molina was called a guardian of his country and city for serving in the Marines and the El Paso Police Department.
Some of his friends said he was not only courageous and dedicated, but that he also spoke to officers on every shift, whether he worked with them or not, the El Paso Times reported.
Officer Omar Rivera said all officers know the risks they face but are committed to their jobs.
"We have that obligation to handle any situation we see when we are on and off duty," Rivera said. "A police officer is a 24-hour job."
Police Chief Greg Allen said Molina's death has shaken the department.
Many officers cried during the service.
"It goes to show how precarious our lives are and how dangerous it can be if you run into the wrong person at the wrong time," Allen said.
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