Family, agencies honor fallen officer and deputy killed in Minkler officer-involved shooting

REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- February 25th will always be a somber day in Fresno County, especially for two families and law enforcement agencies.

Although nine years have gone by, Officer Javier Bejar's brother, Omar pauses to remember him every time he passes the place he was fatally wounded.

"Anytime I drive by Minkler, and I see his cross I salute it every time. It's just a way of me saying hello to him or goodnight or whatever," Omar said.

Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza, along with Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, began the day honoring the officers who died in 2010 when a suspect, who was heavily armed, fired on Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier while he was serving a search warrant.

Officer Bejar was the first to respond and was later shot by the same suspect.

"On this day nine years ago, many of us will never forget what we were doing, where we were and the feelings that we had when we heard the news," Sheriff Mims said.

For Garza, the annual flag lowering ceremony is a moment to honor Bejar and the service of all who wear a badge. The flag in front of the Reedley Police Department will be left at half staff for a week.

"So often law enforcement officers give their lives, and they are sometimes forgotten, and it is our duty in the community to remember those individuals that have given their life in sacrifice," Chief Garza said.

Officer Bejar's family said time has helped them process and cope with their tremendous grief.

They are comforted by the annual ceremony since it reminds them they aren't the only ones who will always miss his presence and treasure his memory.
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