It’s been exactly one year since a beloved San Diego police officer was gunned down and killed while on duty and, on Saturday, his community honored his memory with a series of special workouts.
Officers from the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), as well as community members, paid tribute to Jonathan “JD” De Guzman, 43, by partaking in the “GS 24 Memorial WOD Partner Workout” at several Crossfit gyms in San Diego County.
“GS 24” was De Guzman’s radio call sign. He was a SWAT officer and a member of the SDPD’s Gang Suppression Team, known for his courage and dedication to protecting and serving San Diego.
De Guzman and his partner, SDPD Officer Wade Irwin, were shot while on duty on July 28, 2016, on Acacia Grove Way in San Diego's Southcrest community.
The pair had stopped suspect Jesse Michael Gomez, 56, and asked if he lived in the area. Gomez opened fire at point-blank range, striking both officers.
[G] San Diego Mourns Slain SDPD Officer Jonathan De Guzman
Irwin was hit in the throat; De Guzman was hit with multiple bullets. The attack happened so quickly that prosecutors said De Guzman never even had a chance to draw his service weapon.
De Guzman was a 16-year veteran of the SDPD, loved by his colleagues and family. In 2003, the officer survived a stabbing while on duty and was awarded a Purple Heart by the department for his valor.
SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said that even after that incident, De Guzman eagerly returned to the force, his passion for protecting the public never wavering.
Since his killing, De Guzman has been memorialized in many ways around San Diego. This past March, the U.S. Post Office in the Eastlake community of Chula Vista, California, was named in honor of the fallen officer.
Saturday's workout sessions dedicated to De Guzman took place at four Crossfit gyms in Alpine, Santee, Miramar and San Diego.
SDPD Officer Victoria Harrison was among De Guzman’s colleagues sweating it out in his memory.
“I am just honestly proud to be able to represent him and SDPD, and his family and to just be a part of that story,” Harrison told NBC 7. “I didn't have the privilege to personally know him, but a lot of the people I work with did.”
Crossfit coach Ryan Cruz said this type of “hero workout” is an honor in the world of Crossfit, reserved for those who have sacrificed it all through their service in law enforcement or the U.S. military.
Cruz said the legacy of De Guzman and other heroes like him is enough to push participants to finish the tough workout.
“We definitely encourage our members [that] when it starts getting tough, [to remember] that the ultimate price was paid, in honor of that person,” he told NBC 7. “No matter how hard the workout is there is something harder, more difficult than burpees or pull-ups.”
Boxes were set up at the workout events to raise funds for the Police Officers Association’s Widows and Orphans Fund. The program helps provide monetary support to the families of fallen officers, or officers faced with the sudden loss of a spouse or child.