Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Police Department, parents and students participated in naming an elementary school for the first time after a fallen Los Angeles Police Officer.
On February 20, 2004, Officer Ricardo Lizarraga, 31 years old, along with partner Joel Ruiz, responded to the aid of a Domestic Violence victim, when they were confronted by Kendrick Johnson, a known gang member and convicted felon. Johnson produced a handgun and fired several rounds at the officers fatally wounding Lizarraga.
At the naming ceremony, attendees celebrated Lizarraga's life and spirit. Chief William Bratton spoke of Lizarraga's gift of "giving" to the community. Lizarraga's widow, Joyce, expressed her appreciation for honoring her fallen husband and spoke of his motto, "Don't ever give up." Other speakers included, Ms. Veronica Moscoso, Principal, Mr. Marvin Horner, Assistant Principal, Councilwoman Jan Perry, Los Angeles City Council, 9th District, and members of the LA Unified School District, all who elegantly praised Officer Lizarraga.
As important, if not heart warming where the thoughts expressed by several students in their speeches. Giovanny Chavez, 5th Grade, expressed how police officers help the community. Ivonne Hipolito, 5th Grade, pointed out the importance of police officers.
It was a special day that captured Officer Lizarraga's spirit and soul.