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Central Valley Pauses for Reedley Officer/Marine Javier Bejaravatar

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Josephine Cardenas holds her flag as officers on motorcycles lead the funeral procession along Freeway 99, south.

Josephine Cardenas holds her flag as officers on motorcycles lead the funeral procession along Freeway 99, south.

Fresno – The entire southbound lanes along Freeway 99 south of Fresno were cleared in honor of the casket that carried Reedley Police Officer Javier Bejar, 28.

About 3,500 visitors, many from law enforcement, from throughout the state paid their respects in a public service at the Fresno Exhibit Hall today. They heard relatives of Bejar speak, then piled into vehicles for a miles-long procession following the motorcade along the closed southbound lanes of Freeway 99 to eastbound Manning Avenue to the Reedley Cemetary.

From the overpasses, many more like Josephine Cardenas of Fresno paid their respects by saluting the casket and then the officers as they drove along at about 45-miles per hour throughout an 18-minute procession to Reedley. 

“My niece’s son-in-law (Officer Rodriguez) graduated with him (Bejar) from the Police Officers Academy,” said a tearful Cardenas who with her husband, Nick, kept at least one hand on their hearts as they watched from an overpass in Malaga.

“He (Bejar) used to come over the house and study to become a police officer,” she adds.

Many of the officers in the procession responded the salutes and American flags with waves and the occassional blast from the police siren.

Cardenas stood nearly motionless through the entire procession that started with hundreds of police on motorcycles, then the hearse, the vehicle carrying Bejar’s family, and what seemed like the entire state’s police force who drove in  lane No. 3.

Josephine Cardenas of Fresno tears up as the procession heads to Reedley.

Josephine Cardenas tears up as the procession passes the overpass in Malaga.

“It’s sad,” added Cardenas whose emotions now surface. “Because they’re the ones that protect us. For somebody to do something like that to them … it’s sad. We’ve been praying for the family too.”

Bejar was shot on Feb. 25 in Minkler, a small community east of Fresno, along with Fresno County Deputy Sheriff Joel Wahlenmaier who died. Bejar was taken off the machines that kept him alive on March 1. The suspect Rick Liles was killed from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Bejar was in the Marines for four years that included 14 months in Kuwait and Iraq.

Written by Daniel Cásarez

March 8th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Daniel Cásarez

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