By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
SAN BERNARDINO >> National Crime Victims’ Rights Week opened Monday with a somber ceremony hosted by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
The ceremony symbolizes the focus that the criminal justice system should have 52 weeks a year, said District Attorney Michael A. Ramos.
And it’s a promise to anyone affected by crime, he said.
“Stay strong,” Ramos said. “When you have that anxiety-filled moment when you feel like you can’t breathe, think of us — think of today. We will never stop seeking justice for you.”
Former San Bernardino police officers Gabe Garcia and his father, Ron Garcia, both attended the ceremony and shook hands with Ramos.
On Aug. 22, 2014, Gabe Garcia and his trainee, Officer Marcus Pesquera, came upon a group of people gathered around a car. Both officers stepped from their patrol car to see what the group was doing when one of the men opened fire, felling Garcia.
Pesquera returned fire and killed the gunman, Alex Alvarado, 38. Pesquera received the Medal of Valor from the Police Department and Gov. Jerry Brown for his actions.
Crime victim Kermit Alexander, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in the 1960s and 1970s, was also at the ceremony.In 1984, Los Angeles gang members went into a house two doors down from the one they were looking for. They murdered Alexander’s mother, sister and two nephews.
The experience propelled the family into fighting for victims’ rights, said Tami Alexander, who accepted an award from Ramos alongside her husband.
“We do this for all victims,” she said. “This is the one area — victims’ rights — that crosses color barriers, age, Democrats and Republicans.”
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