L.A.P.D. Officer Filberto Cuesta Jr. was killed on duty on August 9, 1998 when his daughter Sierra was only 4 weeks old at the time of his death. The Officers who served with him told his family “you’re going to have another 20 to 25 moms and dads” They held their promise all these years.
This past week when Sierra graduated from Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, California about two dozen Officers were sitting in the bleachers cheering her on and proudly clapping for her as her own father would have.
“Eighteen years ago, when we talked to the family at the funeral we told them – Sierra and Samantha, his children – for the next how many years you’re going to have another 20 to 25 moms and dads,” “We lost a brother out there and it hurts, every day I look back and wish that something like this would have never happened.” “We are kind of a father figure for them since Fil can’t be here,” LAPD Officer Don Poirier said.
Sierra knows that the officers have held up their end of their pledge, she stated: “They’re not just here for one thing, they’ve been here since I was growing up, It feels great!”
“We worked the same unit together for many years, and I considered him a true friend and a true brother,” Officer Christopher Gomez said.
“He’d be proud of the young women they’ve become, and I think he’s upstairs smiling down on us,” Officer Richard Gabaldon said.
Officers showed up for Officer Cuesta’s other daughter when she graduated last year as well, Samantha too has benefitted from having Officers around her all her life. “I know there’s so many people out there that don’t have their dads or their moms and they can’t be there for them at their graduation. It’s just this huge support system and it just means so much to us and our family,” Samantha said.
The officers widow Sylvia Cuesta said: “To see all of these men be here, and honor him, and love him, it speaks volumes to my children about their father,”
Cuesta, was a 26-year-old gang specialist when he was killed as he and his partner, Officer Richard Gabaldon, waited for other officers to help them break up a loud party near Jefferson Park in South Los Angeles. It was later learned that his killer was part of a gang.
Officer Cuesta’s Official ODMP Bio reads as follows:
Officer Filberto Cuesta was shot and killed as he sat in his cruiser while waiting for backup units at a large party. Shots were fired on the officers from behind their vehicle and one bullet struck Officer Cuesta in the head. Officer Cuesta’s partner was able to return fire. Although Officer Cuesta’s partner tried to stop the bleeding with a tourniquet Officer Cuesta succombed to the injury.
Several suspects were detained for questioning and in the ensuing investigation, a shooter was identified and later convicted and sentenced to life.
Officer Cuesta had served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 4 years. He is survived by his wife and two young daughters, ages 18 months and 4 weeks.
LAPD Police Officer Filberto Henry Cuesta, Jr.
EoW August 9, 1998
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