Years later, man remembers brother's ultimate sacrifice

59 fallen SAPD officers remembered in solemn ceremony

SAN ANTONIO – In a solemn ceremony, the San Antonio Police Department honored 59 officers of their own that paid the ultimate sacrifice. In attendance were the family members of the fallen who years later said their pain is very much present.

Each family member wore a black and blue ribbon boutonniere, a symbol of the grief they carry daily.

"It hurts a lot," said Edward Gonzales, brother of a fallen officer, Eloy Flores Gonzales. "It seems like it was yesterday. I'll never forget."

Eloy Gonzales was shot and killed Monday, Aug. 15, 1977, after being flagged down for reports of a struggle between a man and a woman in an alley.

Edward Gonzales remembers when the family first heard the heartbreaking news on a police scanner.

"He said, 'Officer down! Officer down!'," said Edward Gonzales. "Then (they said) his name. 'Patrol Officer Eloy Gonzales got hit.' He got hit twice."

Each family's grief once again vivid Friday. Some broke down the moment they laid down their single yellow rose at the foot of the memorial wall closest to their loved one's picture. 

"It's a reminder that they're not alone," said Doug Greene, spokesperson for the San Antonio Police Department. "We know that they're missing their loved ones and we want to show our appreciation to them."

An appreciation for a dangerous job that has claimed the lives of 59 SAPD officers dating back from the 1800s to 2017.

"These incidents were they lost their life range from car accidents, to shootings, there's one drowning," said Greene. "All of them what they have in common is that these officers were serving the city of San Antonio at the time of their death."

The SAPD Memorial Ceremony took place at the San Antonio Police Training Academy, highlighted by a 21-gun salute, the sounding of taps, and pipes and drums playing "Amazing Grace."

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