Officer Chris Cortijo of the Valley Traffic Division died today of injuries he suffered in Sun Valley on Saturday. Chief Charlie Beck posted the news on Twitter this afternoon. "It is with great sorrow #LAPD mourns our fallen brother, a great man with a big heart & a respected officer....Please join me in honoring our fallen brother by wearing the mourning band until he is laid to rest."
Cortijo was an officer for 26 years and served before that in the Marines. He had made more than 3,000 DUI arrests in his career. The driver of the Chevy Blazer that hit him was booked on suspicion of DUI. Cortijo was struck Saturday afternoon while stopped at a red light at the intersection of southbound Lankershim Boulevard and Saticoy Street. A Chevy Blazer, also headed south, failed to stop for the light and crushed Cortijo and his motorcycle.
After his death this afternoon, the coroner's van carrying Cortijo's body was escorted from Providence Holy Cross Medical Center by LAPD motorcycle officers.
"I'm deeply saddened by the death of LAPD Officer Chris Cortijo, and Amy's and my thoughts and condolences are with his family and the entire LAPD," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. "His death was preventable and that adds to the great tragedy of his passing. This has been a tough time for our police department, and this incident highlights the dangers our officers face every day. Officer Cortijo served in the LAPD for over 25 years and was one of the heroes who put their lives on the line to keep our city safe."