SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A funeral service was held on Wednesday for former San Diego Police officer and San Diego Padres catcher Dan Walters, who died last year as a result of injuries sustained in a 2003 shooting.
Walters was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic disturbance on Nov. 12, 2003. After being shot, he was struck by a passing motorist and suffered two crushed cervical vertebrae, according to SDPD.
He was confined to a wheelchair until his death on April 23, 2020.
Wednesday, a service was held at Shadow Mountain Church in El Cajon. This memorial was so carefully planned, with little details such as the flag that was draped over his casket. The flag was flown last night from the Southeastern Division which is where he was last assigned.
Sgt. John Lammarino, who is retired from SDPD, said Walters "was a warrior, through and through."
"Dan had a life expectancy of 19 years after his injury. But he lived almost 17. And I’ll tell you those weren’t easy days, months, or years. Dan spent months at a time in the hospital, spasms in his legs, open wounds, and mentally there were days when he wanted to throw in the towel, but he never did," said Lammarino.
Prior to joining the department, Walters attended Santana High School, where he excelled on the diamond before taking his talents to the major leagues. He was drafted into the MLB by the Houston Astros in 1984. He was then traded to the Padres in 1989. After playing in the team's minor league system for several years, he was called up in 1992 and played catcher for the team until 1993.
In 1993, Walters suffered a spine injury that required surgery and rehab, ending his baseball career.
He joined the San Diego Police Department in 1998 and worked as a patrol officer in the Southeastern Division for five years. In November 2003, he and his partner stopped to assist another officer on a traffic stop, before soon finding themselves in a violent encounter.
They had stopped a domestic disturbance, and the other officer had been shot, according to SDPD. Walters soon came across the suspect and unable to draw his firearm quick enough, struggled to disarm the suspect himself. Walters was shot in the neck during the struggle, before being hit by a passing vehicle. Walters' partner shot and killed the suspect.
"Dan grew up locally, played professional baseball here in San Diego and proudly served his city as a police officer. He will forever be remembered by the members of this Department," the department said in a release last year.
Walters will have a private burial.