Officer Thomas Joel Steiner

Officer Thomas Joel Steiner

California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch Wednesday, April 21, 2004

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Thomas Joel Steiner

Officer Thomas Steiner was shot and killed while standing in front of the Pomona Courthouse after testifying in five traffic citation-related cases.

Officer Steiner was shot three times, including once in the head, in an unprovoked attack by a 16-year-old suspect intent on killing a police officer. Officer Steiner was walking across the street in front of the courthouse and paused to stop for traffic. As he stood in the street the suspect drove by and opened fire at Officer Steiner, striking him numerous times.

Officer Steiner was transported to a local hospital where he died five hours later.

The killer was apprehended several hours later by members of the Pomona Police Department. He was charged with murder. He later pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He received an additional 25-years-to-life sentence for using a firearm.

It was later discovered that the suspect shot Officer Steiner in an attempt to gain the respect of members of a Los Angeles gang. Fifty-seven members of that gang were arrested after a year-long investigation and charged with conspiracy in relation to the murder of Officer Steiner.

Officer Steiner had served with the California Highway Patrol for 5 years and was assigned to the Santa Fe Springs area.

He is survived by his wife, son, and stepson.


  • Age 35
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 15729

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life without parole


Most Recent Reflection

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Here, we find ourselves in 2020 with the current challenges of a worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, the “Defund the Police” movement, among multiple other unforeseen challenges. On the fateful day that Officer Steiner went to be with our Lord, I was one of two CHP Officers holding all vehicle/pedestrian traffic, in order for the CHP helicopter carrying Thomas’ Mother, to land near the Hospital. Having a wonderful and rewarding relationship with my own Mother, the look of FEAR on his Mother’s face as she ran across the lawn toward the Hospital to be with her Son in his final moments, is an image that will be deeply engraved in my mind forever! In order to have multiple subpoenas for the same court day, an Officer must possess an unparalleled work ethic, as Thomas obviously had. At the time of Thomas’ murder, he was performing the duties of an “SMPV” Officer (Commercial related Enforcement ), which is the exact duties I was responsible for, at the neighboring CHP/Baldwin Park Area Office. Having recently retired from the California Highway Patrol, I realize that I was truly one of the fortunate Officers that, unlike Thomas, and those HEROES that made the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of California, will be able to enjoy the latter years of my life. God bless you Thomas, and your family and friends, as ALL Police Officers don’t have the luxury of returning home at the end of your shift!

Trooper Schobel/15502 (Ret)
Inland Division MRE
CHP Riverside Area

September 11, 2020

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