|07-30-2007, 10:19 PM||#1|
love, blood, life
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tempe, Az USA
Local Time: 03:32 AM
We lost 5 innocent PHOENICIANS in one day due to the actions of others
The point in posting these stories is that our actions as human beings affect eachother directly or indirectly. We can choose to do good, and think good thoughts and help ppl or think stinky thoughts which enable a lot of negative events to occur, collectively the decision is ours.__________________
Then later in the day this happened:
Slain officer's family remembers loving father
Dianna M. Náñez
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 30, 2007 12:00 AM
The widow of fallen Phoenix police Officer George Cortez Jr. said she told her sons Saturday, one day after their father was shot and killed in the line of duty, that they have a new angel watching over them from heaven.
"I told them, 'Daddy's in heaven, now you have a special angel and that angel is Daddy,' " said Tiffany, his high school sweetheart and wife of three years.
"I said we're not going to be able to see Daddy, but we can talk to him every night when we say our prayers. He's going to be watching over us and protecting us," she said.
Cortez, 23, was shot while attempting to arrest Edward James Rose, 20, for trying to cash a bad check at Southwest Check Cashing near 83rd Avenue and Encanto Boulevard, authorities said. A clerk at the store had called 911 after verifying that the check Rose presented was stolen.
Cortez arrived at the store about 8:30 p.m. According to police reports contained within court records, Cortez had one handcuff on Rose when Rose took out a gun and shot the officer at least once in the face and once in the shoulder.
Rose and his girlfriend, Norma Lisa Lopez, 19, who according to police reports was with Rose at the time of the attempted forgery, fled the store after the shooting, authorities said. Cortez was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, in Phoenix, where he was later pronounced dead.
Authorities arrested Rose and Lopez at 5:30 a.m. Saturday in the West Valley. They were each booked into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail on counts of first-degree murder, burglary and forgery.
Cortez is the first Phoenix police officer killed in the line of duty since November 2005. Born in Phoenix and raised in Peoria, Cortez played football for four years at Centennial High School, where he graduated in 2002.
'My special daddy angel'
Cortez and Tiffany met their junior year at Centennial and became high school sweethearts. They had a Christmas wedding on Dec. 27, 2003.
Tiffany said Sunday that since her husband was slain, she and her sons Koltan, 4, and Gunner, 2, have been staying at her parents' house in Peoria. The home, she said, is buzzing with family and friends who are comforting each other with memories of Cortez.
"We called each other mama bear and papa bear and the boys were our baby bears," said Tiffany as she knelt before a box of family photos strewn across a living room floor that has become the boys' playground.
Gunner and Koltan ran to their mother's side to see pictures of daddy.
"This is my special daddy angel," said Gunner as he kissed a photo of his father.
'I miss him so much'
George Cortez was Ellen Cortez's only child. Ellen, 40, said she raised George as a single mother with the help of her parents.
"He was a good little boy. He loved football, motorcycles and Teenage Ninja Turtles," she said. "I miss him so much. He had the most beautiful smile. George was always laughing . . . always telling jokes."
Ellen said she does not know how she would survive the loss without her grandchildren.
"They're my blessing," she said. "If it wasn't for them, I'd have nothing."
Cortez lived out his love of football for four years in defensive line and fullback positions for Centennial High.
Jon Cavello, 23, said he met Cortez while playing football during his high school.
"George was my best friend," he said. "I loved him."
The families got even closer, Cavello said, after Cortez and Tiffany moved into a house across the street from his family's house in Surprise. Summer nights were spent at each other's homes playing with the Cavellos' 15-month-old daughter and Cortez's boys, Cavello said.
"George was such a great dad. He took his boys everywhere. When Tiffany was working, he'd take them to play ball, swimming, to Peter Piper Pizza," he said. "I don't want them to miss any of that. I'm going to take them to do everything their dad did. George would do that for me."
'So many plans'
Tiffany said even though she and Cortez were only 16 when they met, they knew they would be together a lifetime.
"He had the most beautiful eyes and smile," she said. "I brought him to meet my parents and they fell in love with him, too. My dad is a captain with the (Maricopa County) Sheriff's Office. . . . George looked at him like a father. He wanted to be just like him."
Tiffany's dad, Tom Tyo, is a 27-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department. Tyo said he could not believe the news when he was told George had been killed in the line of duty.
"I'd thought of this happening to me before. But never, never George; he was so young," Tyo said, choking back tears. "The kids had so many plans. He loved Tiffany and the boys so much. He was going to take an extra shift so Tiff could go back to school and not have to work."
A great father
Tiffany said she was busy getting their sons ready for bed when she heard an evening news report that an officer from her husband's Maryvale precinct had been shot.
"I started crying," she said. "I called our friend Tony (a fellow Phoenix police officer). He called me back and told me it was George and he'd been shot, he was at the hospital."
Tiffany said she arrived at the St. Joseph's hospital to find a room full of officers.
"I was crying. I started screaming, 'Where is he? Is he alive?' " she said. "The doctor started crying."
Cortez had already been pronounced dead. Tiffany said she asked to be taken to her husband.
"I just laid there on his body," she said. "I just kissed him all over, just the smell of him. I just wanted to take him home.
It was the hardest thing to leave the hospital, I felt like I was abandoning him."
Tiffany said she wants people to remember Cortez as a great husband, son, friend, officer and most of all a great dad.
"He loved his boys. I called him Mr. Mom," she said. "His world revolved around me and our family. I will never fall in love with anybody again. I will never love anyone like I love George."
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