Memorial held for slain Richmond off-duty officer Gus Vegas

Byby Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Memorial held for slain Richmond off-duty officer Gus Vegas
Family and friends are gathering to honor Gus Vegas, a Richmond police officer, family man and cherished member of the community.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- An honored Richmond police officer, family man and cherished member of the community was laid to rest on Friday.

Officer Gus Vegas' son said it takes a special man to make each of his 10 children feel like the center of his world.

Listening to his loved ones speak, it was clear that was how Vegas made everyone feel.

PHOTOS: Memorial for Richmond Officer Gus Vegas

"He never neglected to tell us how much he loved us and how proud of us he was," said Vegas' son Enrico Maldonado.

The procession began at 9 a.m. headed to the Richmond Memorial Auditorium for a public memorial service.

"It was told to me once you'll know how a man lived his life by who shows up at his funeral," said Tom Peterson, a Richmond city cop.

Perhaps the greatest testament to how Officer Vegas lived his life are his 10 children.

His son Enrico said if they ever felt they fell short, their dad quickly lifted their spirits. Vegas is survived by his wife, 10 children and 20 grandchildren.

VIDEOS: Family, friends, local officials remember Richmond officer at public memorial

This was a man who understood perseverance. It took him 10 years after graduating Napa Valley Police Academy to become a police officer.

"He never gave up, he was told 'no' so many times," said son, Joe Vegas.

"The Richmond Police Department gave him a chance. They saw in him what we saw in him, and the rest is history," he said.

Vegas' colleagues said as a detective he worked cases until there was nothing left to work and then kept working them, earning him the nickname Care Bear, because he never gave up on victims.

"My daddy was divinely appointed by God to protect and serve and he completed what he was sent down to do," said Angel Vegas, his daughter.

RELATED: Friends, family gathered to remember slain Richmond officer

Vegas ultimately gave his life protecting his daughter Angel and her baby. His family says he did die in the line of duty - as in his duty as a father.

The 15-year veteran was shot and killed inside his home last week. The father of Vegas' 6-year-old grandson, Joe Vega, is charged in the murder. There is no known motive at this time.

"He's my hero, literally my hero. And I thank you dad," said Angel.

RELATED: Family of slain Richmond officer forgives suspected killer

A GoFundMe account has been set to the help the Vegas family. For more information, click here.

Also, the Richmond Police Officers' Association has created an account at Mechanics Bank in Officer Vegas' memory. All donations will go towards helping the Vegas family.

Mechanics Bank
Routing number: 121102036
Account number: 041305213
Richmond POA in memory of Gus Vegas

Click here for full coverage on Richmond Officer Gus Vegas.