Ponce, PR – Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) Sergeant Erasmo Garcia-Torres was killed in the line of duty on June 10 after being shot in the head while conducting a traffic stop on his lunch break.
Sgt. Garcia-Torres, 50, was on his lunch break when he spotted a driver committing a traffic violation, according to Primera Hora.
The sergeant briefly made contact with the suspect, but the man then tried to flee the scene, police said.
Sgt. Garcia Torres followed the suspect as he made his way to intersection of Calle Venus and Calle Villa.
But when they reached the intersection, the man he was following suddenly spun around and opened fire on him, hitting him in the head, Primera Hora reported.
Sgt. Garcia-Torres was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds, Primera Hora reported.
The gunman, later identified as Bryan Ramos Rivera, has been arrested and charged with the sergeant’s murder.
Garcia-Torres was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant during a ceremony on Monday, Primera Hora reported.
Sgt. Garcia-Torres earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice before joining the PRPD on June 28, 1991.
He was just 18 days shy of his 30th anniversary with the PRPD when he was murdered.
Sgt. Garcia-Torres served in the Guayama and Aibonito Tactical Operations Division, the 782 Precinct of Puerto Nuevo, the Drug Division, Narcotics, Control of Vices and Illegal Weapons, the Guayama Drug Court program, and the Ponce East Precinct during his career, Primera Hora reported.
He had been serving as a motorcycle officer since 2019.
Sgt. Garcia-Torres received a slew of awards and commendations during his career.
He was also a member of the Puerto Rico National Taekwondo Team and represented Puerto Rico in the Pan American Games in 1990, 1997, and 1999, according to Primera Hora.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi declared three days of mourning in honor of Sgt. Garcia-Torres’ sacrifice, Telemundo PR reported.
“My condolences to the entire family of this Puerto Rican hero, who for 28 years protected the lives of all of us in Puerto Rico and made the greatest sacrifice of giving his life,” Pierluisi said, according to the news outlet. “I deeply regret the pain of the family, loved ones and fellow police officers of Agent Erasmo García, for this terrible loss that we all feel.”
Sgt. Garcia-Torres leaves behind his four children, according to El Nuevo Dia.
“Our people join their family in prayer and solidarity, we trust that God will fill them with strength and comfort in the face of the pain they suffer,” the governor added, according to Telemundo PR.
Sgt. Garcia-Torres was laid to rest on Monday, Es Noticia PR reported.
Se busca al presunto asesino del policía en Ponce identificado como Bryan Ramos Rivera. pic.twitter.com/6lddEwHkUv
— Rafael Muñoz (@rafaelmunoz007) June 10, 2021
Our thoughts are with the entire Garcia family, and the men and women of the Puerto Rico Police Department. Officer Erasmo Garcia Torres may you Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/GTaOegabAP
— San Juan DFO Gregory Alvarez (@DFOSanJuan) June 14, 2021
Today on day of Puerto Rican Pride 🇱🇷 our thoughts and prayers are with the Puerto Rico Police Department and the family and friends of Agent Erasmo García Torres who was shot and killed in the line of duty on June 10. #FidelisAdMortem @PRPDNoticias pic.twitter.com/xmJh7FotUr
— NYPD Housing PSA 3 (@NYPDPSA3) June 14, 2021
A veteran Puerto Rico police agent was killed today in Ponce. The officer had pulled over a suspect for a vehicle violation. The suspect ran, the agent pursued & the suspect shot the agent dead, authorities say.
Agent Erasmo Garcia Torres, 50
was married with 4 children pic.twitter.com/JQIALw6rjj
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) June 10, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Puerto Rico Police Department Sergeant Erasmo Garcia-Torres, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.