Police reveal bombshell in 2006 murder case

Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 16:40:51-05

Emotions are still raw over the loss of Officer Dan Bessant nine years ago Sunday.

His police family put up a memorial on the intersection where gang members killed him in Oceanside.

His father, Steve Bessant, would do anything to hold his son again.

"I know that I'll have eternity with Dan, but this short time here is still painful without him," he said. "I miss him every day, and there are certain days when the sense of loss is just so much deeper."

Days like Dan's birthday are tough, and the time of year when they used to take their annual fishing trip.

"Standing around the barbeque having a beer… I miss him there," he added.

He clings to memories, but his grandson does not have any of his dad.

"Part of the bitterness of loss is all the things that could have happened," Steve said.

Wyatt was only two months old when his dad was murdered in the very neighborhood he was trying to protect.

It is loaded with gang members, drugs and violence, and Dan cared deeply about making it safer.

He was backing up an officer on a traffic stop when ice cold killers shot him from several houses down.

Sylvia O'Brien was the lead investigator on the case.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," she said through tears.

She said they arrested three teenagers, but a judge only tried two. Meki Gaono and Penifoti Taeotui were locked up for life. In a powerful moment in court, Steve forgave them for killing his son.

Only 10News has learned investigators believe at least one cop killer is still on the loose.

Steve said he will forgive any others too, but Lt. Leonard Cosby of the Oceanside Police Department said justice will not.

"Justice catches you at the most unforgiving time," Lt. Cosby said.

Oceanside police would not say if they have any leads, but they did tell me they are on the hunt for one or more cop killers. 

"Dan and I are brothers in the Lord," Lt. Cosby explained. "We're brothers in blue also. So is it personal? It's very personal."

Steve finds comfort knowing they have taken over his son's mission to make that neighborhood safe.

There is still a hole in his heart that cannot be mended.

"There's never closure when you lose someone you really love," he said. "I want him to be here or me to be there."

He would have done anything to have taken that bullet, and he longs for the day they are together again.

"I'm looking forward to when I can see Danny," he added.

He is hoping someone will finally feel comfortable stepping forward with information to prevent another family from suffering such a heartbreaking loss.