Mission, Texas, police department’s Cpl. Jose “Speedy” Espericueta always talked about how he wanted to see his teenage son play football for the first time.
“The one thing he couldn’t stop talking about was Joaquin starting football this year,” Officer Javier Lara told CNN on Sunday.
But Espericueta was shot and killed in June while in the line of duty and never got the chance. He was the first officer to die in the line of duty in more than 30 years.
From that moment on, Mission Police Department — as well as several other law enforcement agencies — made it their promise to be there for Joaquin where his father could not.
Mission 👮🏻 officers vowed to take care of Cpl. Espericueta's family. They kept that promise as they showed up for Joaquin's 1st football 🏈 game. Speedy's son was named honorary capt. So many officers & city leaders were there to support! #ThisIsForSpeedy 💙 pic.twitter.com/Mg6fPzp9kY
— City of Mission, TX (@CityOfMissionTX) September 21, 2019
#RGV Sector #BorderPatrol agents joined local police officers today to support the son of fallen hero, Cpl. Joey “Speedy” Espericueta. A sea of law enforcement watched Joaquin who was named honorary captain for his first 7th grade football game! #BackTheBlue #HonorFirst pic.twitter.com/SaMWFbbIr8
— CBP RGV (@CBPRGV) September 22, 2019
A true blessing for the Sheriff’s Office to have attended Corporal Jose “Speedy” Espericueta’s son’s first football game 2019. An amazing experience to see the law enforcement community continue coming together to show, he will never be forgotten! #myHCSO pic.twitter.com/g9qcozQEYs
— Hidalgo County SO (@HidalgoCountySO) September 21, 2019
“We made a promise to the family that we’re gonna be there for special events,” Lara said. “Being the first football game, we gathered agencies from across the valley to let him know that we’re still there, even though his dad’s not.”
Espericueta was shot dead in June while responding to a call from a woman who claimed her son was shooting at her car.
Espericueta attempted to make contact with the young man, who allegedly turned around and shot him. He later died at a hospital from his injuries.
Before the game, Joaquin and several officers took to midfield for a ceremonial coin toss while a helicopter flew above to honor Joaquin.
“He was really excited. He was real thankful about us being here for him,” Lara said. “He has a huge heart. He’s going to be a good young man.”