Police in Texas step up for fallen officer’s family

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MISSION, Texas (CNN) — Even in the predominantly Latino border town of Mission, Texas, people had a hard time pronouncing Corporal Jose Espericueta’s name.

Instead, he was just known as “Speedy.”

So it wasn’t a surprise “Speedy” was one of the first to arrive when Mission police were called to the scene this past June of a man pulling a gun on his own mother.

Speedy was on the phone with his with wife when the call came.

“I heard a radio call in the background, but I just thought it was any other call, and he was like ‘OK Babe, I got a call.’ And I was like, “OK, take care,” his wife, Bobbie Espericueta, says.

Those were the last words the high school sweethearts shared.

Just 15 minutes later, a friend told Bobbie to race to the hospital.

“Speedy” was shot in a foot chase with the suspect.

“I just cried my lungs out. I just didn’t want to believe it, but the doctor did come out and said that he had passed,” Bobbie says. “And I was just in shock. I just couldn’t deal with it at the time. I was in complete shock.”

Officer Javier Lara was one of “Speedy’s” best friends.

A week before the shooting, they shared haunting text messages: a pact that if anything happened they would take care of each other’s families.

“It’s heartbreaking because it’s something you make as a promise as a friend. As a best friend, you’re always going to hold your word to it. But now we’re fulfilling it,” Officer Lara says.

Officer Lara and others have stepped up for their buddy Speedy, taking care of his wife and their two children, Brianna and Joaquin.

They recruited dozens of officers to make sure Joaquin didn’t walk into the first day of 7th grade alone. It was a moment so powerful that it left many officers in tears.

They drove Brianna to college and helped her move into her dorm room.

They filled the stands of a middle school stadium game to cheer Joaquin on in his first football game, where he wore the number 50 in honor of his father’s badge number 350.

And they named a street after him.

Bobbie Espericueta didn’t know her husband had shared those texts with his friend but it means the world now.

“I mean it’s literally a family in blue. They’ve been there with us through everything. They’ve tried to normalize our lives as much as possible,” Bobbie says.

Speedy and his family were supposed to celebrate his birthday together at a recent Dallas Cowboys game. It was his favorite team.

But it was his brothers in blue who brought the family instead.

“We get to honor and share it with my husband in spirit. I know he’s here. I’ve had so many signs, it’s unbelievable. I’m just very thankful. Very thankful,” Bobbie says.

The Dallas Cowboys might be known as “America’s Team,” but these officers are “Speedy’s Team.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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