Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Criminal Investigator Manuel Zurita, VII

United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service - Office of Investigations, U.S. Government

End of Watch Tuesday, January 6, 1998

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Reflections for Criminal Investigator Manuel Zurita, VII

Amen papi christmas coming...we still miss u a lot...its a pain that cannot be change papi...u leave us a grwat hole in our lives...but ur legacy still here and its gonna keep growing more and more by the blood and grace of God...i miss u sooo much dad...

Manuel l. Zurita-7 jr.
Son

November 19, 2018

Today marks 20 years of your absence. I cry less but I miss you the same or more. I have had the honor to meet some of your brothers in arms and it truly has been a pleasure to speak with them and learn some more about you. I will continue to keep your memory alive. I love you and miss you.

Denisse Zurita

January 6, 2018

Not a day goes by that I don't stop thinking about you. You're a legend to us.

Darlenne Zurita
Daughter

October 24, 2017

Hi dad,its me ur son the blacksheep..bombin..era para decirte q estes dnd estes tienes unos hermosos nietos,deberias d estar orgullosos lo bellos q son jaa darla,denisse y enid hermisas unas modelos y pues yo aqui luchando cn todo papi,e tenido mis altas y bajas papi,pero tu sabes solamente como soy,me caigo pero asi mismo m levanto y mas q tengo tu sangre y la d mami,estoy orgulloso d ser tu hijo,no sabes cuanto te extraño y cuanto dolor me da en mi pecho q tu no estuvieras aqui para apoyarme y corregirme como solo tu sabias,eras un hombre sabio en tu manera d ser,no hay nadie como tu,extraño salir contigo y reirnos sin parar,jajaaa,muchas cosas q tu sabes,te las llevastes jajaa,bueno mami esta hecha una guerrera,ella a sido el pilar d nosotros,la q nos da el coraje para seguir adelante,en fin una gran madre y es la q ora x nosotros y nos levanta el animo,papi no digas nada,pero ella se a quedado fiel a ti,me dijo q tu fuistes el primero y seras el ultimo..no muchas son asi,antes d hirme queria decirte q te amo y gracias...tu hijo..bombin.

Son - Manuel L. Zurita Rodriguez
My father

April 2, 2016

"When a good man is hurt, all who would be called good must suffer with him.”

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

January 27, 2016

This year you would be grandpa for the 4th time to my 1st baby, Jaden. I know from somewhere you watch over me and my husband. I have been fortunate to meet some of your brother in arms, its such an honor for me to hear them speak about you and the great person you were.

What you have left behind will forever be in our hearts and mind.

DeniZ
Daughter

March 23, 2015

At the United States Border Patrol Academy, Manuel Zurita VII was my roommate, a man and friend who dedicated himself like no other to his studies and one who helped both me and other classmates who shared our dorm very much in the process. I remember him as super-intelligent with a heart of gold. Today while I had thoughts of finding him just to say hello, it was sad to find that he gave his life in the service of others.

Senior Border Patrol Agent George Abel
USBP class 178PI GLYNCO, Georgia 1985

November 19, 2014

You know I hav to write, just to feel like you're really reading this somewhere. Its been so long since the incident and since my life was turned upside down, then I was 11 and nowI'm 26. I still hear people talking about the great things you did, how you made everyone smile and what an amazing dedication you had to family and work. Iam truly honored to be your daughter and have an amazing example of dedication, sacrifice and love. You have not gone very far, we still celebrate you and your accomplishments and life through ceremonies and dedications. I enjoy listening others talk about the great memories they have of you. MISS U PAPI. I know it is in me somewhere to be as great as you.

DeniZ, Daughter
DHS

March 5, 2014

Manuel Zurita IV: kindly call these numbers, I need to contact you. Richie Acosta Tu Compadre.
R.I.P. Manuel Zurita VII.

Ex-Officer
V.I.P.D.

January 18, 2014

Zurita,

It's hard for me to believe it's been so many years since you passed. I came in to Customs as a baby agent and you were one of the sweetest persons I knew. You always had a way of cheering me up and making me laugh and smile. Truly an amazing spirit. I'm so blessed to have met you, but I regret not telling you how much you truly impacted me. Pagan, thank you so very much for supporting me through Zurita's memorial service. I'm crying about it as I type. Zurita's, you were truly loved and are missed.

Lisa R. Harris-Gore, ASAC
Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General

October 7, 2013

Mi hermano-my brother, it has been 15 years since that fatal day. Wow. I still talk about you to anyone that will listen. We know what the agency said about you, about the fact that you were recognized as a hero. I on the other hand tell people that you were more than that. Yours was a life full of dedication to your family and to the Customs Service. We became friends and eventually brothers. Our interest in our work and family kept us together. We were both adventurous. We found fun in our work where others found work. We were a team, and as a result we backed each other up and worked together as advisors for the U.S. Customs Explorer program. As a result over 85% of the 40 plus teenagers that we trained are today professionals with ICE, CBP, and other law enforcement agencies. I am extremely proud of the results of our efforts. This is why we as a team were so effective because we worked together. 15 years and teenagers today know about you. When I am asked about what it was like to work in Puerto Rico during the 80's and 90's, I tell them that it was an adventure made easier and more successful because of my brother Manual VII Zurita. Love you and miss you a lot.

Senior Special Agent-Retired
U.S. Customs Service-Office of Investigation

January 1, 2013

I still remember his voice, I still remember the laugh, I remember Manny Zurita as if it was yesterday that we were together. It has been over 14 years since I last saw Manny, but I think of him everyday. Always eager to help everyone, at any time and without hesitation. Manny showed me that he could arrest a suspect from his desk, by just calling and telling him to come in to be arrested. Truly an example of what a Customs Senior Special Agent should be. Every Jan 1st at about 8:00 pm, I stop and remember the events of that day, and wonder If I could have done anything different to avoid us being involved in that accident. I am here today, thanks to Zurita, and his incredible calm in the midst of chaos... May God have you in his Glory and keep you in the place you more than deserve in heaven, Hope to see you again, when the time comes...

Jose R Pagan
USCS SS/A & S/A DHS ICE HSI

August 10, 2012

As My 63rd birthday approaches. I sit her and remember when that nut would show up at mmy house on my birthday, som times as early as 5 A.M. just to wake me and Amelia(my wife) up so that he could sing happy birthday to me. But I knew that what he wanted was for Amelia to make coffee, and for me to get up and out of the house. Birthdays, holidays, it didn't matter what the event was. We went to work, because that's how we were. We were known as the double 00(because we both had pot bellies). So when I was in St. Thomas,USVI on the Presidential protection detail and I ran into SSA Zurita, I was not surprised, because was his nature, as it was mine. His passing was extremely difficult for me to cope with. It has taken all of 14 1/2 years for me to accept. We have family in the town where he is buried, so every time I go to Guayama, and past the cemetary, I honk my car horn, every News Years eve, I pour two drinks, and every Three Kings Day, I go to his grave site. I have moved on. Its just my way of remembering "our Special Kinship".

SSA Nelson A. Rolon-retired
U.S. Customs Service, Office of Investigations

June 2, 2012

My heartfelt condolences to his family.

I too remember this like it was yesterday. I was a fairly new agent at the time and Zurita and Nelson were among the first to make me feel welcome. He was always happy, helpful and so much fun to be around. We were all much more than co-workers. We were friends and shared many good times.

I was in St. Thomas when this happened. Jeff and I heard of the accident and rushed to the hospital. We got there before the ambulance. When it arrived he was handing the IV to the paramedic and someone commented “he’ll be fine.” He was alert and talking to me in St. Thomas.

He saw me peak into the room where they had him and asked me to come hold his hand. He also asked me to look out for the other two that were injured. I went with him to x-ray and continued holding his hand in the hospital in St. Thomas until the Coast Guard flew him to Puerto Rico. Luke was also there with us.

I safeguarded his personal effects and credentials, and later in Puerto Rico was at the hospital with Aida Silva on watch when the doctors asked me to call his family (I called Sector), the night he was pronounced dead. His family treated me like family, all the Zurita brothers. Wonderful people.

I ran across this quote and it fits Zurita well: A man so remembered with love and respect never dies but continues to live on in the hearts and minds of others.

GS Caroline Richardson
DHS HSI El Paso, Texas

May 21, 2012

I have just graduated from my bachelors. I know you would be proud and cheering me on!

Not a day goes by without you in my mind. You will never be forgotten. Your family loves you

Love you

Denisse
Daughter

March 16, 2012

It's been fourteen years and I can remember the day as if it was today. We met when I was a Deputy US Marshal and later I had the priviledge to work with you when I became an agent with US Customs. Much of the guys have retired and only a few of us are still doing what you loved to do. Today for some strange reason I thought about you and decided to write you a small message to let you know that you will never be forgotten. God bless you!!

Roberto Escobar/ Special Agent in Charge
Homeland Security Investigations

February 21, 2012

Papi,
Not a day goes by without thinking of you. You are and always will be my hero along with mom. I love you and miss you. It's a blessing to be your daughter.

You will never be forgotten,

Darlenne Zurita

Darlenne Zurita
Daughter

July 4, 2011

Sosi, my brother, it has been 13 years since that tragic day. Yet a day does not go by that I think about you, or remind and or mention who Manuel VII Zurita was and still is to me. As you know every time I go to Patillas, I stop by and say hello. I have not been as communitative as I should have been with your family for several years, but I will reconnect with them. Your friend, and brother Nelson

SSA Nelson A. Rolón Mercado-Retired
U.S. Customs Service

January 17, 2011

Agent Zurita,
Sir, on today the 11th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country and to the Service. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

R.I.P.
USBP

Anonymous
USBP

January 6, 2011

Happy New B-lated new Years Dad. It has been 12 yrs since the last time I got a kiss from you. Now your baby grils are grown, You have 2 amazing grand-daughters who we talk to them about you all the time. It has been 12 yrs of missing you, and now more than ever since I wish you were to be present at my wedding.
Thank you for the excellence, determination, dedication and sacrifice you have engraved in my morals. Hopefully I join Titi Dolores in one of her activities for all the officers and their families.
Love you and miss you

Denisse Zurita
Daughter

January 12, 2010

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 12th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.


Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

January 6, 2010

"My Badge"

As a law enforcement officer,
My thoughts are only prayers
that rest upon my sheild of pride,
for which I've sworn with faith and honor,
to protect all needies lives.

I've sworn to use my badge of honor
to bring peace truth and justice,
with honest words,
that are an oath,
and integrity to help it.

With my badge,
I've looked up to GOD
and I've also made a promise,
I've promised to those
that I'll protect
to give my life
for them.

Author: Edwin Gautier Vega (I wrote this poem while at the police academy in 1981) and today I dedicate it to Manuel Zurita VII and all the fallen Law enforcement Officers of the World.

Even though I never met Manuel Zurita VII, I went to school with Manuel Zurita IVX, and eventually met and worked, with Manuel Zurita IV and Manuel Zurita VI (V.I.P.D.) The badge makes a brotherhood and a connection to Manuel Zurita VII ( may he rest in peace). To Manuel Zurita IV. If you or your family members see this message, please contact me at [email protected] or call at 281-597-1473. GOD bless.

Ex-V.I. Police Officer

October 6, 2008

I believe you were my uncle on my biological father's side. I never met you and just learned about your death. You did a good thing protecting our country and i am greatful for that. I just wished i met you. RIP and god bless

Zulma Zurita
niece

July 25, 2008

Hey Dad, you're always in our conversations, and somehow there is always someone nearby who has the most encouraging words to say about you. You have definitely left a mark, not only on your family, but on your fellow colleagues. I wish I could have witnessed you doing your job, and definitely spend a whole lot of more time with you. Now I'm going for my BA in criminal justice and I hope you're proud. Muakssssss!!! your daughter Denisse (Deni)

Denisse Zurita
n/a

April 30, 2008

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1993 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

March 31, 2008

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