• September 17, 2019

Members of OPD pay tribute to fallen officer Marquez - Odessa American: Law Enforcement

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Members of OPD pay tribute to fallen officer Marquez

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    The OPD Honor Guard carries the wreath honoring Cpl. Abel Marquez. The Odessa Police Department honored fallen Officer Marquez Thursday morning with a wreath laying ceremony at the memorial statue on the OPD front lawn. This marks the 12th anniversary of his passing Sept. 12, 2007. Marquez was killed in the line of duty after responding to a domestic violence call.

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 4:26 pm

As sunlight peeked over the horizon and through the West Texas sky, the Odessa Police Department Honor Guard escorted a wreath to remember a fallen officer.

Members of OPD stood and watched as Cpl. Abel Marquez’s wreath was laid on the memorial statue on the front lawn of the police department.

Marquez was critically wounded in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call Sept. 8, 2007. He was transported to Medical Center Hospital and then was later taken to University Medical Center in Lubbock where he died on Sept. 12, 2007.

“Every year when this time comes around, you feel that loss,” Odessa Police Department Chief Michael Gerke said following the wreath laying ceremony. “Abel’s brother, Pete, was a lieutenant here for many years and I still consider him one of my best friends. When your best friend’s brother passes away, it leaves a mark on you and it has left a mark on the Odessa Police Department.”

Gerke said the second week of September is tough because three of the five officers that have died in the line of duty were involved in the same domestic violence call.

Cpl. Arlie Jones and Cpl. John “Scott” Gardner were killed instantly after they were reportedly shot with a shotgun by Larry Neil White. White died on May 31, 2011, before his judgment in court.

“It hurts when that anniversary comes around, but you also start remembering the good things about them,” Gerke said about Marquez. “You gather together as a group and you talk about those stories that you all have about members of your family. We view officers as members of our family.”

The two other OPD officers who died in the line duty were involved in motorcycle collisions.

Cpl. Gordon “Terry” Toal and Officer Scott Smith died Aug. 19, 1982, and Feb. 6, 1988, respectively. Toal died when his motorcycle collided with a car that moved out of line in a funeral procession, while Smith died after he was responding to a burglary in progress call on Aug. 3, 1987. Smith lived on life support for six months after the collision.

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