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Officer Roberto Carlos Sanchez

Los Angeles Police Department
End of Watch: 05/03/2014

Officer Roberto Carlos Sanchez

 

Since the day he took his first airplane trip - flying from his native Mexico City to the United States for the first time - Roberto Sanchez was obsessed with model planes. 

He collected model airplanes – building them, painting them, trading them, discussing them in online forums. In high school he would take his future wife, Sonia, to hobby shops, seeking out rare builds. Later, after joining the Los Angeles Police Department, he toyed with the idea of one day joining the force’s air unit. Once he and Sonia married, they lived near John Wayne Airport, and he would take her plane-spotting there. He would set up his model planes on his parents’ lawn. “I still have his airplanes,” Sonia recalled. “I can’t even think of how many I have.”

Roberto greatly enjoyed the simple pleasure which life offered: his friends, the company of his wife and of his mother, who was “the world to him,” his favorite chips. In uniform he was all business but he would leave that side of himself at the station. “When he would come home he was the complete opposite – goofy and funny,” Sonia said. Her brother, Jesse Carbajal, added “He was very humble.” Roberto was always smiling and had an unmistakable and infectious laugh. “He would just out of the blue start laughing, and his laugh was so funny that it would make you laugh,” Jesse said.

Roberto was an only child, and while he and Sonia did not have children of their own, he derived incredible pleasure from his wife’s large family, especially their nieces and nephews. One day, Jesse and Roberto were at the mall, and the former asked his brother-in-law if he would be godfather to his son. “He was so happy,” Jesse recalled. “He started laughing and jumping – he said, ‘Of course!’ And that day never came.”

One Saturday in May 2014, before the christening could take place, Roberto was trying to make a traffic stop when another car deliberately rammed his patrol car, wounding his partner Rich and killing Roberto.

Jesse decided to have a portrait of Roberto tattooed onto himself in his honor. Jesse’s wife, nieces and sister, Sonia, had thoughts along similar lines. They got small airplanes tattooed onto their wrists.

 

 

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