Metal detectors and evidence markers in hand, investigators searched a park in Southcrest Friday, following up on possible leads related to the shooting death of San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Officer Jonathan “JD” De Guzman.
At 8:45 a.m., several police vehicles were parked near the Southcrest Recreation Center at South 40th and Alpha streets. Investigators cordoned certain sections of the park, including some grassy areas, and used metal detectors. They placed small flags in certain areas and took notes.
The park is located just a few blocks from Acacia Grove Way, the street where De Guzman and his partner SDPD Officer Wade Irwin were gunned down while on duty on July 28, 2016.
San Diego Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon told NBC 7 that investigators from the SDPD Homicide Unit, along with evidence collection specialists, were at the park following up on leads and possible evidence that may be related to the ongoing investigation of the shooting of De Guzman and Irwin.
Runyon said the work would likely take all day.
“[They’re] documenting certain items of potential interest,” he explained.
Runyon said he could not elaborate on what those items might be or what investigators were looking for, as the investigation is ongoing.
Irwin survived the shooting, but was seriously injured.
The SDPD officers were shot when they stopped suspect Jesse Michael Gomez, 52, and asked if he lived in the area.
Gomez opened fire at point-blank range at both officers, shooting Irwin in the throat and hitting De Guzman with multiple bullets. The attack happened so quickly, prosecutors said De Guzman never even had a chance to draw his service weapon.
De Guzman was a 16-year veteran of the SDPD, beloved 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. Zimmerman said that even after that incident, De Guzman eagerly returned to the force and his passion to protect the public never wavered.
Since his killing, De Guzman has been memorialized in many ways around San Diego. Just this past Monday, the U.S. Post Office in the Eastlake community of Chula Vista, California, was named in honor of the fallen officer.