EL CENTRO  The memorial service for El Centro Officer Efren Coronel took place live on Facebook Friday morning, June 26. Officer Coronel died from COVID-19 complications after he became infected from dealing with an infected suspect. 

The tribute was filmed at the Jimmy Cannon Performing Arts Theater at Southwest High school with dozens of mourners, many fellow officers from the El Centro Police Department.  

The service began with a presentation of the colors followed by a bagpipist and drummer, all dressed in formal service uniforms.  

The Facebook page had continuous emojis of hearts and crying faces floating up the side along with comments of commiseration to the family. 

Coronel’s daughter played a clarinet solo outside the auditorium. 

“Dad, I know how much you loved to sing the national album, so this is for you. I love you,” his daughter said before she played the Star-Spangled Banner. 

The speakers included his pastor, brother, sister, Chief of Police Brian Johnson, and the mayor of El Centro. They shared the stage with his flag-draped coffin and two officers who constantly guarded the body. 

“The City of El Centro is somber as we say goodbye, but joyful that we knew such a great friend of El Centro. A friend through his faith, his family, and his outstanding citizenship,” Mayor Efrain Silva said. 

Sebastian Coronel, son of the fallen officer, remembered his loving, faithful father.  

“He always turned negatives into positives. He was humble and caring — a praying father.”  

The service ended with a three-gun salute, a riderless horse with a man’s boots turned backwards, symbolizing a fallen soldier, walked across the stage, and the officers paid honor to their comrade. 

The flag was ceremoniously removed from the coffin, properly folded, and presented to Coronel’s widow. 

A final call was repeated three times, calling for Coronel’s badge, number 354, with no response. 

A voice over the audio system reported, “With great sorrow, today June 26, we report a negative response. Badge 354 has been retired never to be assigned again. Officer Efren Coronel has come to his End of Watch, June 3, 2020. Rest in Peace. We have the Watch now.” 

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