Police mourn officer killed in Martinez

September 8, 2008 2:33:08 PM PDT
Police in Martinez are grieving the loss of one of their own this weekend. Sergeant Paul Starzik was killed, along with two other people, in a shooting Saturday.

On Sunday, the Williams family delivered flowers and offered up prayers for Sgt. Paul Starzyk -- the first Martinez police officer to die in the line of duty since 1973.

"I said 'please help the other officers not get killed like this, it's pretty tragic and not have it happen again,'" says resident Marti Doke Wiliams.

Forty-seven-year-old Starzyk was a 12-year veteran of the Martinez Police Department. On Saturday at about 11:30 a.m., he and three other officers responded to a domestic dispute at the Elegant Hair Design Salon on Pacheco Boulevard and Morello Avenue. Armed with a gun, Felix Sandoval, the husband of the salon's owner, broke a front window and went inside looking for his wife Margarita. Jerroll Hunt, a neighbor, heard the commotion and called 911.

"I said 'oh I can't talk to you much longer i just heard shots.' She said 'stay on the phone.' I heard 'pop, pop, pop!' Then, it stopped. Then, I saw an officers come down and say 'officer down.'"

Those pops were shots. Bullet holes mark the site where officers fired at Sandoval, killing him. Sandoval had followed his wife's cousin, Catalina Torres, from the salon to her friend's apartment, now marked by a boarded up doorway.

According to an individual who does not want to be identified, the shot that killed Catalina Torres was fired through the door, while Catalina was inside with her friend and her friend's three children.

"You can't find too many people who would say anything bad about her. Not at all," says Catalina's high school friend Eddie Fisher.

Sergeant Paul Starzyk layed mortally wounded on the apartment balcony. He was taken to John Muir Hospital where he died. Governor Schwarzenegger issued this statement Sunday:

"The people of California are forever indebted to Paul's tireless service and we will never forget his selfless dedication to public safety."

While Martinez police mourn their loss, other police agencies are helping out by answering calls for service.


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