2nd vigil planned as community mourns loss of Mesa officer - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

UPDATE

2nd vigil planned as community mourns loss of Mesa officer

© CBS 5 News / Sean Gates © CBS 5 News / Sean Gates
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Mesa Police Officer Brandon Mendoza is being remembered as an exemplary officer who was committed to his community.

Mendoza was hit and killed by a wrong-way driver on a southeast Valley freeway Monday morning while heading home from work.

A vigil is being held Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at 1700 N. 12th St.

On Tuesday night, the Mesa Police Department held a candlelight vigil for Mendoza at the Mesa police headquarters.

Former military officer Steve Jimenez placed a flag in the middle of the baseball field Monday at Guerrero Park, honoring Mendoza.

"He was just a soldier, here in the community as a police officer, so that flag represents Brandon," said Jimenez.

Jimenez coaches a youth baseball league that practices at Guerrero Park. He says Mendoza led a project to turn the park around.

"We were having some problems with gang members, and they assigned Brandon as a liaison and he fit that job perfectly," said Jimenez.

Jimenez says though Mendoza wasn't a coach, he took on the league as if it were his own.

"That's just him. That's the person I'm talking about. He was a great officer, but even as a person he made that commitment. That's what you need, that type of a commitment to take on a project like this," said Jimenez.

Leo Sosa says Mendoza turned the park into a safe haven in a rough neighborhood.

"There was a lot of people just laying in the park, sleeping in the park. There were drugs and all kinds of stuff and it was not safe for the kids to come and play in the park. Now I can bring the kids," said Sosa.

Jimenez agrees, and says their community lost a great supporter.

"He really closed the gap between the community and the police department which is what you need," said Jimenez.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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