In the fall of 2017, Greggory Casillas had just graduated from the Police Academy and was doing his field training with the Pomona (CA) Police Department, achieving a goal he’d set when he was in elementary school. He told one of his friends that, having married the “girl of his dreams,” having two young sons, and now his career in law enforcement, “All of my dreams are coming true.”
On March 9th, 2018, just before he completed the field training, Casillas and his partner received a call about a reckless driver. The man led them on a chase that eventually ended in a crash. The suspect then ran into a nearby apartment, the officers in pursuit.
As they approached, the suspect shot through the door, killing Casillas and severely wounding his partner.
Casillas’ four-year-old son, Greggorio, began kindergarten this week. Like any child that age, he was both excited and anxious about the day. Undoubtedly, his father would have been there to ease his fears and walk him to class. Knowing this, Casillas’ fellow officers stood in for him, surprising the boy by showing up at the house with a police escort.
“He said this morning while at home he wasn’t going to come to school,” Pomona police Chief Mike Olivieri said. “But when he saw the (motorcycles) pull up with the lights, he was ready to go.
“After a half-dozen police motorcycles escorted the boy to Citrus Elementary School in Upland, he found 70-plus officers from Pomona, Upland and Ontario’s departments waiting for him, ready to usher Little Gregg to his first day of kindergarten. Little Gregg eagerly popped his head out of the rear window of the SUV that brought him to school and shouted out to the chief, “I’m so excited!”
The department tweeted a video:
It was our privilege to escort Greggorio Casillas, son of our fallen Officer Greggory Casillas, on his first day of kindergarten. The Casillas family will never be forgotten and they are part of a law enforcement family that will always be with them.💙 pic.twitter.com/YF5RZmIs63
— Pomona Police Dept. (@PomonaPD) August 29, 2018
A local newspaper reporter was on hand to document the procession:
— Beatriz Valenzuela (@BeatrizVNews) August 29, 2018
Pomona Police Chief Michael Oliveri said it was his honor to accompany the boy to school, and that “We hope that when he gets older that he understands just how important the sacrifice his father made was for all of us, and he always knows he’ll be a part of our family.”
An emotional morning. As a dept., we hope little Greggorio’s first day of school is one he will remember forever and when he gets older, will understand just how much his father’s sacrifice meant to all of us. https://t.co/6m0jLSJVWz
— Chief Michael Olivieri (@olivieri_ppd) August 29, 2018