Officer shootings raise old emotions

March 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
We were all reminded again this weekend that police officers truly do put their lives on the line to protect us. The deaths of four Oakland officers Saturday is bringing back painful memories for a family in the South Bay. They're a family that understands precisely what's at stake.

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"It makes you relive your entire experience all over again," said Sandy Fontana, the mother of a killed police officer.

Fontana's pain runs so deep and she would never wish it upon anyone, let alone the families of the four fallen Oakland police officers.

"They have a very long road," said Fontana.

Fontana's journey started in 2001. When her son, San Jose Police Officer Jeffrey Fontana was shot and killed while on duty. The rookie officer had just pulled over DeShawn Campbell who had two outstanding felony warrants at the time.

The man who shot the Oakland police officers was also wanted.

"Those similarities and the circumstances, it's difficult to deal with because you just want something to change where these incidents don't happen anymore," said Greg Fontana, Jeffrey Fontana's brother.

The mother and son heard about what happened in Oakland on Saturday. Fontana is vice president of Northern California Concerns of Police Survivors. It's a support group that immediately reached out to the Oakland officers' families. She says talking with people who have lived through this type of tragedy will help.

"They know our hurt, they know our pain, they knew our frustration and so it was much easier to express it to them and they understood us," said Sandy Fontana.

"It still hurts, it still hurts every day," said Greg Fontana.

One reason the Fontanas say they haven't found peace is because of DeShawn Campbell. His trial started just this month -- seven years after officer Fontana's death.

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