SAN DIEGO - City officials, police and family members gathered Monday to remember a slain San Diego police officer at the park in the City Heights neighborhood that now bears his name.
San Diego police Officer Jeremy Henwood, 36, was gunned down by a suicidal man near the intersection of University Avenue and 45th Street on Aug. 6, 2011. The 23-year-old gunman, Dejon Marquee White, was later killed by police and a suicide note was found in his apartment.
Henwood, a four-year police veteran and Marine reservist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, died in a hospital early the following day.
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Henwood is often remembered for his actions in the City Heights community he served. Moments before being shot, Henwood had bought a child food at a McDonald's on nearby Fairmount Avenue.
Part of Urban Village Square was subsequently renamed Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park in his honor.
His sister, Emily Henwood, told the crowd that his family misses him and feels the loss every day.
"It truly breaks my heart that my brother fought for our freedoms overseas, only to come home and be killed by his own countryman," she said. "But, as many of you know, there are bad people everywhere -- lost people who don't value life the way they should -- and that's why we need police officers."
Emily Henwood said she met with the family of SDPD Officer Jonathan DeGuzman, who was fatally shot on July 28, and came away amazed at their strength. Members of the DeGuzman family attended the ceremony for Henwood, along with Mayor Kevin Faulconer, police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and City Councilwoman Marti Emerald.
City officials said the annual memorial gathering and community barbecue was inspired by Henwood's "compassionate actions moments before his death." The event is held each year in hopes of strengthening the relationship between residents and San Diego police.