This morning we were up at 5am so we could ride the horses and get chores done before the sun started baking our valley. After a quick breakfast, Brett took his overnight bag and climbed into his truck to start the seven hour drive to Glendora. Today marks 20 years since Louie Pompei, a fellow officer at Glendora PD, was killed.
I never met Louie (his time at the police department was during the period Brett and I were not in contact) but I've heard a lot about him over the years. Brett was Louie's training officer and they became good friends. Brett thought the world of Louie; he was a good officer, a good friend, and a good person. Louie was always willing to help; he was friendly and outgoing and fun; he was engaged to be married.
Louie was killed in a robbery. He was on his way home from work, off duty, and stopped at the grocery store. The robbery went down while he was in the store. The robber started to pistol-whip the clerk and Louie intervened. Unfortunately, the robber was not alone. He had an accomplice who was also in the store -- and who shot Louie. Brett told me that Louie managed to get off five rounds, injuring both robbers, before he died. They were arrested when they presented at a local hospital ER for treatment.
When Brett and I got back together, one of our first trips was back east to see the Amish country in Pennsylvania and to explore the East coast. Our first stop in Pennsylvania was the small mining town where Louie was born and raised. We visited Louie's grave and Brett left a Glendora PD t-shirt on the grave.
A small group of officers is back in Pennsylvania today, including the Chief at Glendora who, back then, was one of the regular guys who formed Louie's group of friends. Brett is attending a large memorial celebration at at the Pompei Memorial Park in Glendora. He carries Louie in his heart, always, but wanted to be part of the larger commemoration today.