LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles police sergeant has died from complications due to the coronavirus, authorities said, becoming the department’s second sworn officer to succumb to the virus as cases rise across the state.
Sgt. Fred Cueto was a 22-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. He died on Sunday, the LAPD announced on social media.
“He was known for always having a smile & being a consummate professional,” the department wrote on Twitter.
Los Angeles Senior Detention Officer Erica McAdoo, a civilian member of the LAPD, died in early July. She was the first LAPD employee to die of the disease. Officer Valentin Martinez, 45, died a few weeks later while his domestic partner was pregnant with twins, marking the department’s first sworn fatality.
Thousands of police officers nationwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, many believed to have contracted it while on duty. At least six members of law enforcement in California have died from the virus’s complications.
In Los Angeles alone, 929 LAPD employees had tested positive throughout the pandemic, as of Dec. 3, the most recent figures available. More than 250 were self-isolating at home as of last week.
The LAPD offered its condolences to Cueto’s family and friends “with an extremely heavy heart,” a statement said.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, said Cueto had dedicated his life to protecting Los Angeles residents.
“He served our community with honor and his passing is a loss for the LAPD and our city,” president Craig Lally said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, our officers have put themselves and their families at increased risk in order to continue to police our city. Sergeant Cueto’s passing is a reminder of that risk.”