Funeral held for Fresno County correctional officer who died from COVID-19 complications

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A dreary Monday began with a vehicle procession from Chapel of the Light to Holy Spirit Catholic Church for the funeral services of Officer Juan Cruz Jr., the long-time Fresno County Correctional Officer who died November 5th from COVID-19 complications.

"Each time we have to deal with something like this, it's just more and more humbling," says Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "You learn to not take anything for granted and how precious life is."

His brother, David, traveled from Arizona to attend Monday's funeral and speak about the type of person Juan was.

"Me working on the shop with him whenever he came to Arizona, I always had something to work on with him," David said. " We'd be in the shop for hours, sometimes a few days and that's the big hole that missing. Him not seeing his nieces and me not being out in the shop with him."

Due to cremation, traditions such as the playing of taps and a gun salute took place at Holy Spirit following the services.

For the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, it was the second death in less than a month. Correctional Officer Malama Scanlan passed away October 12, five years after he was injured in a shooting at the Fresno County Jail.

"A bit of an anomaly to have something like this but at the same time, it's nice when we can bring everybody together, have the allied agencies for that comradery to support and show love all at one time and one place," Botti said.

The department says Cruz caught COVID while on the job despite being vaccinated.

"In this case, it was just one of those battles Officer Cruz couldn't overcome," Botti said.

Cruz leaves behind four children. He was 52 years old.
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