TACOMA, Wash. - Many saluted, others touched their hearts as a tribute to fallen officer Jake Gutierrez. The American flag flew high as a long procession transported the 45-year-old’s body from the medical examiner’s office to Tuell-McKee Funeral home.
“He was a hero for sure,” Gerri Kempel said. “I couldn’t even imagine if my husband didn’t come home.”
It’s hard voicing the pain, so many in the community are writing it down.
“We have classrooms and people crying,” Lynette Scheidt said.
Flowers and cards on Friday filled up one of the rooms inside the substation where Gutierrez worked.
“Guess what he sees it all this is what the world should be,” Scheidt said.
Scheidt volunteers at the substation where Gutierrez came to work every morning for 17 years.
“He never sat here and got coffee breaks he was just go go go trying to help the next person,” Scheidt said.
She says the father of 3 had a passion for helping teens.
“He didn’t arrest them he sat down and had an interaction with them, they thank him today for not going down the wrong path,” Scheidt said.
Scheidt says her friend put his life on the line to save countless domestic violence victims.
“He was such a special person because he could de-escalate so many situations, soft-spoken,” Scheidt said.
But on Wednesday, Gutierrez died after responding to one of those situations.
“I would be scared to death to be a police officer,” Nancy Joslin said.
“What they put out and put up with you know they don’t get the thanks,” Lee Kartes said.
But during the procession, the gratitude was profound towards Gutierrez and his family.
“They can find some comfort to knowing that community is mourning his loss as well,” Kempel said.
Gutierrez leaves behind three daughters and a fiancée. He was also one of eight children. His older brother Ray Gutierrez shared this statement with Q13 News.
“He dedicated his life to helping his community, he would do his best to be there whenever his fellow brothers and sisters behind the badge needed him. He died doing what he loved. He will always be a hero, we miss him dearly.”