Hundreds attend vigil for slain Nogales Police officer

Hundreds attend vigil for slain Nogales Police officer
Hundreds attended a vigil for fallen Nogales Police Officer Jesus Cordova

NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Santa Cruz County community came together Sunday night to honor a fallen officer.

Strength was no match for the harsh emotion of a life lost. Some of the bravest men and women in uniform were brought to tears as Nogales Police Department officers embraced each other.

"It's an emotional roller coaster," said NPD Officer Oscar Mesta, who served with Cordova as both a deputy in the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and and officer in the Nogales Police Department.

"I'm angry, frustrated, but also sad and hurting at the same time."

They learned, two days earlier, that Nogales Police officer Jesus Cordova was shot and killed by a carjacking suspect on Friday, April 27.

There has been very little time for the community to cope, as they saw photos of Cordova in uniform at the site where he was killed.

Daniel Godinez, who said he's known Cordova for 15 years, arrived Sunday with flowers to place at a memorial set up on Mesa Verde Drive in Nogales.

"He was a sheriff first and then a police officer. Then he's got these great kids," Godinez said with a long pause. "I'm still shocked."

Godinez was among the hundreds of people in attendance, including fellow officers from the sheriff's office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Customs and Border Protection agents.

They honored a man that hundreds knew. Cordova, 44, grew up in Nogales, Arizona, and was engrained in the community.

"If he could do it all over again I know that he would. That's just who he was. He loved to serve. He loved to serve his people. He loved to serve his family. He loved to serve his community," his wife, Alyssa Cordova, told the crowd.

When the vigil ended Alyssa proceeded to hug and thank those who lined up to offer their condolences, in the same parking lot where her husband's life was taken.

Villa's Market on Mesa Verde Drive is the place where detectives from multiple agencies had swarmed these last two days to investigate the crime.

The suspect, 28-year-old David Murillo from Tempe, AZ, was captured after he ran from the scene and stole another vehicle, officers said.

"The dust hasn't cleared yet," said Villa's Market manager Sergio Villa

He watched as detectives combed the parking lot for evidence, essentially blocking access to the public to his business. He gave them the time that they needed.

"They can do whatever they want," Sergio told Tucson News Now. "I know we have a business to run but there are other things more important in life than work."

But back to work Cordova's fellow officers will go, and back to being strong in uniform for the community they love.

"I've got a family of my own and I put myself in his shoes. My wife would be devastated. My kids would be devastated," Officer Mesta said. "Now it's reality but for a buddy of mine. We've got to be there for them."

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