SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Thursday's officer-involved shooting in 4S Ranch has resurfaced painful memories for the family of another police officer, shot and paralyzed in the line of duty two decades ago.
Kayla Palacios, the niece of the late San Diego Police officer Dan Walters, expressed her devastation upon learning about the recent incident.
“It's hard … I always pray for the families,” said Palacios, niece of the late Dan Walters.
Palacios was just 12, when her mom told her Uncle Danny had been shot in the line of duty.
Walters, a former Padres catcher with over four years of service on the force, was shot in the neck and struck by a passing vehicle during a traffic stop on Nov. 12, 2003.
“A lot of tears behind closed doors,” said Palacios. “It was definitely was a shock. I didn’t fully grasp how bad it was until I was older.”
The shooting left Walters paralyzed from the neck down, enduring countless surgeries for related health issues.
“Lots of ups and downs with the emotions. Some days were extra hard for him. He was in a lot of pain all the time.” said Palacios.
In 2020, Walters passed away at the age of 53 from complications related to the original gunshot injury. His name was placed on the San Diego Police Department fallen officers memorial.
In 2021, a procession and a pandemic-delayed funeral was held for Walters.
Years later, there are more difficult feelings, with news of another police officer injured.
Palacios said while she was so grateful her uncle survived, there was worry and anxiety among family over the unknowns of his recovery.
When it comes to the recent shooting, she's praying for his recovery. She said no matter how well it goes, she knows it's life-changing for him and his family.
“It is going to change their whole day-to-day life, and I feel for them so much,” Palacios said.