Police Officers Give Big Surprise to Girl Whose Father Was Killed on Duty
Jose “Gil” Vega was a police officer from Palm Springs, California, who was killed in the line of duty two weeks ago after 35 years of service. He is survived by his wife and eight children, the youngest of which is 8-year-old Vanessa Vega. Last Monday was her first day back to school since her father’s death. Vega’s fellow Palm Spring officers decided to show that, though Vega was no longer with her, she was not alone.
On that morning, readying to return to her fourth grade class at Rio Vista Elementary school, Vega was shocked to see that waiting outside her house were over a dozen police officers, led by Sgt. William Hutchinson, ready to escort her to her first day of school.
“All your uncles came to take you to school this morning!” one of the officers says after giving the young girl a hug. The officers drove her to school within a line of police cruisers, which would have been even longer if not to prevent a traffic jam.
“It is a very tragic time for her. We can’t walk away. She has a whole new family to rely on,” Hutchinson said to ABC10 News.
The officers led her all the way to her classroom before lining up to give her one last hug before class started.
“If we can put a little bit of happiness or joy or comfort in her life, we will help her,” Hutchinson said. “It’s really important for the family that we show our support.”
Young Vanessa has shown her bravery already, as she spoke at a memorial service for her father and his partner, Lesley Zerebny.
“He was a good cop, dad, grandpa and brother and many more. He was happy with his life, he was happy with everything,” she said to the crowd in attendance.
In a year where negatively-charged stories involving police have been on the forefront of the news, it is refreshing to hear of a story like this one, where some officers just wanted to take a young girl to school, if only to show her they cared.