Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Officer Gilbert Richard Chavez

Phoenix Police Department, Arizona

End of Watch Monday, June 16, 1975

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Reflections for Officer Gilbert Richard Chavez

About Gilbert, the last words we spoke was the Friday before this incident. He thanked my partner (the late Phoenix Police Reserve Sergeant Carl Naegle) and me for being his back up, the second of that Friday shift. He was one of a few officers who did not mind Reserves being on the street. That same partner and I had lamented often that we wished we had been on the street that Monday night. It should be mentioned that at the time, there were no portable radios. Gilbert had to make it back to his patrol car, mortally wounded, to put out his 998, an officer involved shooting, before he passed away.

Candy (Reid) Cruse, PPR Lt. (25 years)
Phoenix Police Reserves

August 4, 2020

Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo (Retired)
Delaware State Police

June 16, 2020

Many days have passed and turned into 45 years, since you were taken from me. My journey has been a bumpy road, and yet a blessed one because you were part of my life. You will forever be in my heart and the love I have for you will never ever die. Gone, but never forgotten. Rest in peace, my love, until we meet again.

Virginia Cruz-Chavez

Virginia Cruz-Chavez

June 16, 2020

Gill, 45 years have now passed since you volunteered to take the "5"car. You were young ,
energetic and enthusiastic about being a Phoenix Police Officer. You and Bill Day, responded
to a routine alarm ringing call on W. Jackson St., where you were met by two thugs, one that
took your life. I was with you at Memorial Hospital when you were pronounced deceased.
The Phoenix Police Department and especially our 82 squad Shift 3 was severely impacted
by your passing and our loss of such a fine officer.
You are gone however you will never be forgotten.
You are in God's hands now.

Sergeant Denis Regan
Phoenix Police, Phoenix Arizona.

June 6, 2020

You will always have the love and respect of all who wear or have worn a law enforcement badge. Continue to rest in peace.

Richard (Dick) Goodridge
Family friend and past law enforcement

May 27, 2020

I worked with Gilbert during the summer at a landscaping company in 1972 or 73. I admired him and enjoyed working with him. He was a good friend and a hard worker. My father was a Phoenix Police officer for 20+ years and serving at the time Gilbert passed away. Thank you for your sacrifice. This life is just Act II of a three Act experience. There is more. God bless you.

Grant Tayrien
Friend and work associate

March 17, 2020

My dearest husband, the love of my life. It's been 44 years since that tragic incident when you were taken from me and family. Even though so many years have gone by, you are still missed, loved, and are forever in our heart. Like in the words of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, It has been said, "time heals all wounds". I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.
I love you, Gilbert, may you R.I.P. my love, until we meet again.

Virgie Cruz-Chavez

June 16, 2019

My beloved Gilbert, it's been 43 yrs. since that awful tragedy that changed my life and those that knew and love you so. We believe that those we love don't go away, they walk beside us evey day...unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed, and very dear. Until we meet again, R.I.P. my love.

Virgie Cruz-Chavez

June 16, 2018

Thank you all for remembering my awesome Uncle
..he was an amazing man..really wish he was here to see where we all are..but I Trully believe he watches over me...

Linda Y Higgens
His neice

February 12, 2018

The other day I came across several articles of your passing from 1975 that I had stored away in my files all those years, and thought it was time for me to make a few comments in your honor. We were classmates at the Phoenix Police Academy back in 1974 along with William Day and many others.
You were very enthusiastic and totally committed to becoming a police officer. You often kicked my butt in defensive tactics class! The academy was tough, as it should have been. Along with the hundreds of subjects, Officer Safety was often pounded into our heads by all the staff including our class Sergeant Jeff Boehm, because it was a very dangerous time for law enforcement professionals.
You did very well and the happy day came when you and most of our classmates graduated. You could not wait to practice your skills and serve the community, it was a very exciting time. We all knew that there was a possibility that some of us would not survive, but it didn’t matter. You had the internal quality that all good police officers have and pressed on despite the dangers of the job.
From experience, we all know that things can go very wrong, very fast. The news of your tragic end hit everyone hard. I attended your funeral in Winkelman, Arizona. It was a very sad and trying day, especially for your family. Fellow law enforcement officers, many of whom had never met you, came from all corners of the state in your honor to pay their respects.
Your ultimate sacrifice made ALL of us a lot more vigilant while conducting our daily duties. I am speaking from experience when I say that you saved many of us, many times.
Rest in peace brother.
We will never forget you.

Commander Barry Vassall, Retired
Scottsdale Police Department

June 22, 2017

Uncle Gilbert,
I never got t to meet you, your brother and my mother where married well after you had passed but the memories that my step family, including your beautiful mother an my Nana Bell have shared, make me miss the fact I ne ear got to know you in person. Thank you for your efforts in protecting the ones your served

Dave Wasson
Nephew you never met

December 4, 2015

Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

June 16, 2015

On June 16, 1975, my life as I knew it ended. My beloved, Gilbert, my husband, lost his life in a tragic death. My future was altered forever. I have reached the forty years anniversary of Gilbert’s death and I still miss him dearly. This day is filled with both tears and sadness yet these years have also included moments of awe and amazement at the love and honor paid to Gilbert’s memory. I have so many people to thank, from family to his fellow officers. I am humbled and touched by the many who have told me that Gilbert’s life meant something and that his sacrifice will never be forgotten.

One thing is for certain, all the wonderful memories I have of Gilbert will never fade from my mind or heart. Thank you Gilbert for all the joy you brought to my life. I thank you and love you forever.

Love your wife,

Virginia Cruz-Chavez

June 16, 2015

Gilbert, on the 16th of this month it will have been 40 years
since that horrible incident on W.Jackson street that two viscous
criminals took your young and promising life. I remember that evening and think of you frequently. I know, with out a doubt,
that you are resting with our Lord and he has in you a fine dedicated, sincere and proven example of what a Phoenix Police Officer is and an example to all young and mature police officers
should strive to attain. We will always be with Gill.

Sergeant Denis B. Regan 1635
Phoenix Police, Squad Sergeant.

June 4, 2015

On June 16, 1975, I was a new cadet going through the Phoenix Police Academy. I remember how your death had a huge impact on all the cadets and especially on me. The next day, after my training day ended, I drove to the building where your life was taken and saw the bullet holes on the exterior wall where your partner was shot at and grazed. Your sacrifice that day gave me a resolve to stay alive. I prayed and swore that if it was within my power, to not allow this tragedy to happen to another officer.

Later in my career, I went to work in Corrections, became a training officer, and I used this tragedy to train new officers in "Critical Thinking" and "Officer Safety" to improve their odds of survival and safety. This may have saved an untold number of officers over the last 39 years.

Officer Chavez - May you rest in peace and in the gratitude of the citizens you protected.

P.P.D. Officer #2937
Retired ADC Parole Officer

February 27, 2014

This is my wonderful Uncle... I was only 6 at the time. I remember I thought he was soo great ..I thought he had the coolest way of pouring milk on cereal :). He was taken from us way too young and is gone but NEVER will be forgotten! RIP Uncle Gilbert

Linda Chavez-Higgens

January 30, 2014

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

June 16, 2013

To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 37th anniversary year 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 who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

I pray for solace for all those that love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

November 21, 2012

Gilbert was one of the first officersI trained after becomming a field training officer. I still wonder what I could have done to better prepair Gilbert. I will never forget him, he was so happy to be around.

Richard Allen Detective (retired)
Phoenix Police dept.

September 18, 2012

Gilbert was my friend and neighbor growing up in the small Town of Winkelman. Although he was a few years older than I, he was always took time to say hello and used to race me on the street in front of our houses, he on foot and me on my little banana seat bike (he usually won). I believe what made Gilbert so special was that he was very intelligent and could have done pretty much anything he wanted and yet he chose to do this job. Also, he was a kind hearted person who I would not consider as a normal “police type” person.

Had this event not happened, I think he would have accomplished many a great things. I really think he would have been the Chief of Police or even Governor or the State had he survived. I got the pleasure of getting to visit with him and his lovely wife in their home shortly before this tragedy, of course he shared a couple of his police stories, but when I remember asking him why he wanted to do this job, he told me he had always wanted to make a difference and be able to help people. Although, he only managed to work the streets of Phoenix for a short while, I believe he is still working the streets for us, just from a better place.

Although I never got into law enforcement, his life and sacrifice has affected my life until this day! God Bless his family and May God Bless all of you that have put your selves in harm’s way to make a difference.

Jim Johnson
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

August 18, 2012


Officer J.Jaynes
Arizona Highway Patrol

July 29, 2012

Gilbert You were a validictorian and you still are, you are with us all,your spirit is great, love you Gibby Robbie your cousin

Park Ranger
City of San Jose

June 20, 2012

Rest in Peace my brother, we haven't forgotten your sacrafice, and we honor you as we continue the Watch, keep an eye on us from above

Brother in Blue, Phoenix PD

March 7, 2012

Eternal rest grant on to you my beloved husband and may perpetual light shine upon you. It has been 36 years today since that tragic day. I remember it like it was yesterday, but the life and love we shared has been the greatest consolation to me. Thank You, for your love and now your constant watch. I miss you, love and your forever in my heart. Till we meet again, Vaya Con Dios.


Virginia Cruz-Chavez

June 16, 2011

Eternal rest grant on to you my beloved husband and may perpetual light shine upon you. It has been 36 years today since that tragic day. I remember it like it was yesterday, but the life and love we shared has been the greatest consolation to me. Thank You, for your love and now your constant watch. I miss you, love and your forever in my heart. Till we meet again, Vaya Con Dios.


Virginia Cruz-Chavez

June 16, 2011

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