Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Thomas Joseph Keller

Torrance Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, April 17, 1986

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Reflections for Police Officer Thomas Joseph Keller

Thank you Tom for your sacrifice and for the tremendous impact you have had on my life. As my dad's best friend you last saw me when I was only a year old. But 26 years later I have had so many wonderful people come through my life because of you, and I am proud to call myself your sister in blue. Although our time together was so brief on this earth.... You have been an inspiration and a friend to me my entire life through those you brough to me and the stories they share about the amazing man you were. You are a hero and will always be to me.

Sarah Tunnicliffe, detective
Irvine PD

August 20, 2012

There were many of us that responded on that fateful day to the "Man with a gun call" in Old Downtown Torrance.
That ultimate sacrifice Tom made was felt by many more people than those that actively participated in the response. And the loss and thoughts are still felt.
I thank Susan Petinarides, the witness citizen, that understands the sacrifice Tom made and then was kind enough to express her gratefulness.
Too many Cops make that same sacrifice all too often.

We will never forget you Tom, or his family, his friends and his service to Our Great Country and the ultimate sacrifice for people of the City of Torrance.

Always Rest in Peace Tom

Pete Velis Jr.
Torrance PD (Retired)

June 19, 2012

You were the one that had so much to look forward to at the time of your death. You didn't have to respond to that call but you did anyway because that's the kind of guy you were. Our whole department was in shock and it took a long time for us to begin to gather ourselves together to move forward after that fateful day. I will never forget you! You made us all better officers by showing us your example!
Rest in peace and I thank you for your service to the United States while a Marine and to the City of Torrance while a Police Officer!

Detective Marsha Barnet
Torrance PD - retired 1980-2010

April 18, 2012

We will never forget you Tom. Today so many of us are recalling how much we miss you and how much you meant to us and the department. Can it really be 26 years ago today? This is an anniversay I'd rather not recall. Dana, you and I..talking and laughing that last day not knowing that just hours later things would change forever. We are lucky to have known you, to have worked with you. Forever in our hearts and memories.

Kathy Diaz police dispatcher
Torrance Police Deparment now retired 1978-2010

April 17, 2012

Rest in Peace, Officer Keller. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

January 23, 2012

Officer Keller and I were hired together on the same day at Torrance PD. I am saddened that his life was cut short. My prayers are with his family.

Sr. Investigator Ron Braasch
Riverside County District Attorneys Office

November 29, 2011

Today marks 25 years that we lost my friend and an exceptional Police Officer. I grew up with Tom in Santa Barbara and he always dreamed of working in Law enforcement. I can think of no one who represented the Marines and Law Enforcement better than Tom. His life was taken away to soon and I think of him often. Rest in Peace my friend.

Jim Iwanek /Retired

April 18, 2011

I remember working patrol with Tom for the first time. It was an afternoon watch and we were assigned to the West end of the city. Tom was eager to work and seek out the criminal element. We had information regarding persons breaking into a vacant residence and at dusk, we did a check on the house and found a subject hiding behind a couch. Turned out the subject was packaging marijuana for sales and we made a good arrest. I was impressed by the way Tom handled himself and his officer safety in searching the residence and handling the subject once we found him hiding. I worked several other shifts with Tom and grew to like his humor, dedication and professionalism. He was proud of his service with the US Marine's which carried over to how he presented himself as a Torrance Police Officer. On the day he was killed, he had finished his shift and was in the parking lot getting ready to go home, but due to the type of call it was, a "man with a gun", he chose to roll to assist his fellow responding officers. That's the type of officer Tom was, a true professional, a hero!

Sgt.Steve Bock
Torrance PD, retired.

September 14, 2010


Today is April 17th, 2010 and I still miss you man! Do you remember Steve Garcia? He is internet DJ and a DOD cop today I posted your story on Facebook, (not that you know what that is) but Steve was an explorer with us, and caught my post. He did a great tribute to you on the internet, thousands of people heard about you and your story today. So my son Ryan Thomas (after you man) just enlisted in the Air Force as a Security Policeman he ships 27 Jun 2010 so between us we have three of the four services covered. We just need someone to join the Navy and we will be all set! Anyway love and miss you Sheep Dog, Rest in Peace buddy. We have your watch covered.

Groosman on Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs.

Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people, not capable of hurting each other except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves who feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence and you are a healthy productive citizen, you are a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the uncharted path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial, which is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kid’s schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard. So they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours. Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go Baa. That is, until the wolf shows up, and then the entire flock try desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

Sergeant Joel Weeks
Converse County Sheriff's Office, High School Friend and Explorer

April 17, 2010

I was there the day you came to serve and protect .I watched as you and the other officers put your life on the line for people like me ( the citizen ). I was in a upstairs apartment looking down . It was time for me to go to work at the Del Amo mall, and instead I looked out the window to see a very very brave officer come to your rescue,when there were bullets flying everywhere, Rambo style.
I know this happened a long time ago . And I was your age at the time. But I want to thank you for looking after people like me ,as I was just about to go out onto the street to go to work .However I ended up in that apartment for at least 5 hours with the gunman just below. Again I was gratful of your colleagues the swat team who risked there lives to get me out of that apartment that day.
The bravery you and the officer who came to your rescue showed will always be in my mind as it was an extreme act of bravery and sacrifice. I will Never forget it . What an important job you chose.
may you rest in peace .


July 19, 2009


I remember the academy like it was yesterday. Me and you being the only Marines in the Class singing our jodies and marching the troops with our cadence. We were probably the closest two in the class when we found out we were both "jarheads" and have played in some of the same dirt.

I was at home the day the news broke into regular programming about your death. I put my head in my hands and cried.

You were a great friend in a short time. Semper Fi devil dog.

Michael Castaneda
LASD Class 211/USMC

May 16, 2009

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 23rd 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 who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24,i. 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer. My son was also a fellow Marine, so I salute your service to our country as one of the few and proud. Semper F

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

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

April 17, 2009

Devil Dawg;

I was thinking about You today...........

Semper Fi,
"Major Pain'

M. B. Parlor

January 1, 2009

I knew Tom as a young Marine at Marine Barracks 8th&I. He was my Corporal of the guard. He was a true professional and excelled in every thing he did.

Major Julian Walls
Retired Beaufort County Sheriff's Office

August 28, 2008

Devil Dawg:

I remember that day, as if it was today. We were still recoverng from two LAPD Bomb Squad Detectives who had died in a bombing incident, back in February.

Back then, I was assigned to Harbor Division which in some areas, borders Torrance P. D. area. It was not uncommon that we would back each other on what we call "The Strip."

I always wonder if the outcome would have been different if news media had not been televising live, which may have been viewed by the Suspect watching television screens inside.

May Your Soul Rest – In – Peace.

Maj M. B. Parlor

April 17, 2008

We will never forget you and we do what we can to make sure that new employees know your name, who you were and what you meant to all of us. It seems at times so long ago, yet other times like it was just yesterday. I wish it could be undone.

Kathy Diaz Police Dispatcher
Torrance PD since 1978

April 2, 2008

Officer Keller, thank you for your service and dedication. Neither you, nor your sacrifice, have been forgotten.

My thoughts and prayers are with Officer Keller's family and friends.

Rest in peace Blue Angel.

Michelle - wife of Retired LEO

January 18, 2008

You are not forgotten rest in peace Semper Fi.......

Deputy Sheriff 6454

October 26, 2007

"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
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

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

September 20, 2007

Rest in God's loving embrace, hero. You will never be forgotten.

Wisconsin L.E.O.

June 29, 2007

On this Christmas day I reflect on your loss just over 20 years ago. I remember us growing up as friends and saying goodbye when we both entered the military. I am glad we remained friends and I think of you often. May peace be with you.

Officer Jim Iwanek , Retired
California Department of Corrections

December 25, 2006

Officer Keller your work on this Earth as we know it is done. You are in God's Care now. May you rest in peace brother.

SGT. Daryl Brewer
Clarksville Police Dept. Clarksville, Tennessee

May 13, 2006

Rest in peace, brother. You are not forgotten..............

Semper Fi

AZ Narc (former Marine)

April 1, 2006

Thank you for your heroic service to protect law and order. It is men like you that inspire me to become a police officer.


June 25, 2005

Officer Keller,
I would like to say thank you, not just for your service to the citizens of Torrance, but also to our Country and to our Corps as a United States Marine.

Semper Fi Devil Dog,
A fellow LEO;former Marine

April 17, 2005

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