FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KRDO) - As the community mourns the loss of Fountain Police Department K-9 Officer Julian Becerra, the growing memorial outside the police department and the outpouring of support is a testament to his bravery and dedication to serving and protecting his community.
Becerra died on February 11, 2023, nine days after being injured while trying to detain three suspects in a high-speed chase.
The community is rallying behind the Becerra family and the Fountain Police Department. Becerra's patrol cruiser is covered with flowers and notes at the police department. People came to pay their respects to the hero at the memorial on Sunday morning.
"Officer Becerra will never be forgotten," Danielle Nordeem said. "He was with the Fountain Police Department for over 4 years and the community will never forget him. The community loved him, he did an amazing job. To the children, your father is not gone. He is watching over you and he will always be in your hearts."
Danielle says Becerra was always personable, friendly, and had a good sense of humor.
Whether Fountain residents have been a part of the community their whole lives, or just a short time, they say he touched the entire community's lives.
"I've been a part of this community for a long time, I grew up here," Mary McCann said. "When I saw it on Facebook last night I just broke out in tears and I've been praying for the family and big hugs to the Fountain Police Department."
"When he passed away, it was more than I could almost handle," Wanatta Ragsdale said. "I respect our officers so much for everything they do for the community."
A procession for Officer Becerra started at Penrose Hospital and ended at the Coroner's Office late Saturday night.
On Sunday afternoon, Fountain Mayor Sharon Thompson spoke about Becerra, and her frustrations surrounding the circumstances that she believes contributed to his death.
"The City of Fountain is heartbroken," said Mayor Sharon Thompson. "We are so thankful for the outpouring of concern and support we have received from so many over these last difficult days, and I do ask everyone to continue to stand by the Becerra family and respect their privacy and wishes during this very difficult time." The city says it will be "forever grateful" for Becerra's bravery and selfless service.
Becerra was an Air Force veteran with a wife and two young children. To support his family, the community has come together for various fundraising efforts, including a community dinner at Fountain's Veterans of Foreign Wars post, which raised $4,700 on Friday.
"I wish we did not suffer these tragedies in our community, and that families did not have to grieve the loss of a loved one," said Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. "So many hearts are heavy today, and I offer CSPD's condolences to Officer Becerra’s family, friends, and to the Fountain community. I also offer my heartfelt thanks to Officer Becerra for the selfless service he provided with incredible distinction and honor."
If you want to help, there are two other verified fundraisers online for the Becerra family: