A group of San Antonio law enforcement officers honored a fallen police officer by escorting her to her high school graduation on Saturday. The young woman was a toddler when her father, a San Antonio Police Officer was killed in December 2001 by a suspected drunk driver.
Officers from the San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies escorted Julianna Morales to her Saturday high school graduation. Morales was 15-months old when a suspected drunk driver, Jose Luis Garcia, sideswiped her father’s police motorcycle, KSAT ABC12 reported.
The crash that claimed the life of Officer Juan Antonio Morales, took place more than 16 years ago. That did not stop his fellow officers from honoring the man and his youngest daughter at the Natalia High School graduation.
One of Morales’ classmates at the police academy, now Sergeant Wes McCourt would not let the passage of time stop him from honoring his fellow officer.
“We’re policemen,” Sgt. McCourt told the local ABC affiliate. “We’re brothers. She’s kind of like our niece; got to take care of her.”
Julianna Morales followed in her father’s footsteps in graduating from Natalia High School. He served as a student council representative during his tenure at the small school. She now heads to the University of Texas.
“I’m just really glad that we have the support of our family in blue to be there for us,” Julianna’s mother, Rena Morales expressed. “I’m sure he’s watching down over her right now and just full of joy and happy that he has his fellow brothers in blue to watch over her.”
In addition to the escort of officers and deputies from San Antonio, a drum and bagpipe corps traveled to the San Antonio suburb to perform and honor the graduates.
Natalia, Texas, is located just to the southwest of San Antonio between Von Ormy and Devine. The high school as a total enrollment of 291, USNews reported.
The Officer Down Memorial Page reports that 243 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2001, the year a drunk driver took Officer Morales’ life. He was one of seven motorcycle officers to die that year while serving his community.
During his service to the San Antonio Police Department, Morales apprehended the killer of Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Carlos Warren, the ODMP reported. The gunman shot and killed Trooper Warren near Austin in 1991 and fled toward San Antonio where Morales pulled him over for speeding. The cop-killer opened fire on Morales who returned fire wounding the gunman. The then took the man into custody to receive justice.
Morales left behind a grieving widow and four children. Julianna Morales is his youngest child.