DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Rogelio Santander regrets not visiting his son at work.
“It makes me sad because he spent so much time here,” he said, speaking to CBS 11 News at the Dallas Police Department’s Northeast substation.
Officer Rogelio Santander, Junior, died almost a year ago, after he was shot in a confrontation with a shoplifter.
“I would prefer you work in an office,” his mother, Julia Garcia remembers telling him. But her son, she said, wanted to be a police officer.
“He was very happy. Of that, I am sure. He died doing what he loved,” she said.
Santander’s partner, Officer Crystal Almedia, was shot, as well, and spoke publicly for the first time Thursday.
“The past year has been very difficult and life altering. I have learned a lot about myself,” she said, while accepting an award.
The following day, the Santander family visited the officers’ substation to receive a plaque from officers with the Cannonball Memorial Run who are travelling cross country to honor those killed in the line of duty.
“I was shot eight times 23 years ago. An on duty shooting. I look back and why did I survive?” said Sgt. Jason Hendrix, of the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department.
Deputy Chief Avery Moore still struggles with the impact of Santander’s death.
“It affects you sometimes in ways you don’t know,” he said.
Moore oversaw the Dallas Police Academy when Santander was a recruit.
“He was a fun kid, so I would kind of pick on him. And say, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do? Prove it to me’,” he said.
Moore later took over as chief at the Northeast patrol station.
“He was a good recruit and an excellent officer,” said Moore.
The Santander family says it is grateful for the support they’ve received. Their one request? They want to see more respect for the officers who continue to serve.