Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Police Officer Gary Dean Moss

Hermosa Beach Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, June 24, 1982

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Reflections for Police Officer Gary Dean Moss

Gary, you are remembered

Friend Tim Foppiano
SBCoFD Retired

June 25, 2022

On the 40th anniversary of the death of Officer Gary Moss the Hermosa Beach Police Department remembers his sacrifice. We honor his memory by serving our community as he did.

You did not die in vain Gary, God bless you, your family and your legacy.

Paul LeBaron
Chief of Police
Hermosa Beach Police Department

June 24, 2022

Forty years ago this morning I woke up in the hospital, couldn’t move, IV’s everywhere, pain everywhere, some kind of orthopedic apparatus sling around my hips. I remembered what happened. I didn’t realize it was actually worse than I thought it was when it happened. I wanted to know how Gary was doing. He didn’t look so good when we were hit earlier in the morning. 0140 hours in the morning to be exact. Nobody would tell me anything more than he was at another hospital and being cared for and I was doing fine.

June 1982, 1800-0200 night shift motors, Hermosa Beach, California. Me and my partner/best friend, Gary Dean Moss. Working the best assignment in law enforcement, police motorcycle duty, extra pay, take home bike, motor boots, leather jacket. It was all good.

Gary and I had attended the LAPD Motor training school six months prior. A difficult school taught by veteran motor officers. The training was two weeks of intensive drills, skills, cone patterns, 40 MPH decel, combination braking, friction point, stress and dirt. We loved it.

The Saturday night shift started out routine enough, prowling the city for CVC violations, DUI’s, suspicious characters. Writing tickets, taking T/C reports, boundary disputes, backups the usual routine stuff. Weekend summer night in Hermosa Beach, plenty of people rolling into the city to have a good time.

Towards the end of our shift we set up on Ocean Dr at Aviation Blvd to cherry pick speeders and possibly a DUI. Gary and I sat there on our bikes and just talked about our day and what we were doing when we got off shift and what we were doing on our days off. We talked about our girlfriends, Gary had a new one. He felt bad because they had had a fight earlier in the day before work. He was going to make it up to her and apologize for being a jerk. I was seeing Carol Glover, I was going to her house after work. We’d been seeing each other for about seven months, I met her on her birthday, introduced by mutual friends.

As we sat on our bikes, we poked fun at each other, laughed about stupid things, the usual chatter between friends.

We heard the whine of a couple of motorcycles headed towards us from PCH, two rice rockets moving fast, east on Aviation. Instinctively we fired up our bikes and gave chase.

Approximately 60 MPH as we crested the slight rise in the road at Prospect, solid green. Light traffic was moving west, the two speeding bikes were just ahead as we were about to light them up.

A white Ford Fiesta was going west on Aviation, suddenly, without signaling the white car turned left crossing our path just before we reached Harper Ln. the border with Redondo Beach. (He was going to the Jack in the Box)
No amount of braking or evasive moves was going to do us any good. (I only laid down 18’ of locked wheel skid). We were doing 60 MPH. Simultaneously we slammed into the car. Gary hit the space between the front bumper and the right front tire. I hit the passenger door. Momentum kept us in motion. I landed approximately 90’ from the point of impact, Gary a little further slamming headfirst into the south-east curb line of Aviation and Harper. I was in the middle of the street. I was conscious. I felt pain. My arms and legs didn’t work. But I was in pain, a good sign. I could see Gary lying there, not moving. I tried calling out to him, nothing. I tried to check to see if my gun was secured, I couldn’t move my arm. I tried to get to my radio to call for help. I couldn’t move my arm, my hand. What are those sticks poking out of the top of my glove? Completely helpless.

A citizen who was behind us saw the whole thing and stopped to help. He got on the radio on my bike and said this “Officer Down, Aviation and Prospect”. That’s it. Redondo Beach officer Mike Higashi responded, “Was that officer down or what?”.
Gary still wasn’t moving.

Debris and wreckage strewn all around us.
I could hear sirens. The citizen that called for help came to check on me. Told me to lay still. Go check on my partner.

The first officer to get to me was Hermosa Beach police officer Phil Keenan and his trainee. I asked him how he was doing, I told him I was fine, go check on Gary.
More officers were arriving. Redondo Beach officer Paul Burch arrived on scene. (Before joining the force he was an RN in the ER at South Bay hospital). He evaluated Gary and made the decision not to wait for paramedics. He and Phil Keenan bundled Gary up put him in the back of Burch’s black and white and rolled Code 3 to South Bay ER. I could hear the radio, Burch demanded a gurney to meet him at the ER entrance. Gary was in full cardiac arrest.

More units arrived. Officer’s I had gone to the police academy with, familiar faces. Comforting faces. Stressed faces.

I’m still waiting for paramedics. I learned later there had been a mix up in dispatch and the paramedics didn’t get the call right away. One officer yelled into the radio “GET THE GOD DAMNED PARAMEDICS HERE NOW!”

There were four people trapped in the car. My bike intruded 3 feet into the passenger door. My body crushed the roof line in. Thank goodness for my vest.
The paramedics arrived more familiar faces. The ambulance arrived. More familiar faces.

Redondo Beach officer Mike Kaye arrived at the scene, we went through the academy together, I asked him to go to Carol’s house in Manhattan Beach and let her know I was going to be later than expected.
They took me to Little Company of Mary hospital in Torrance. The pain was getting worse, but I was still conscious and aware of what was happening. Chaos in the ER. Nurses, doctors, staff, police officers, vitals. More pain, everywhere. No pain meds till after X-Ray’s. They cut off my boots, my leather jacket, my breeches, shirt. Cold. Shock.
X-Ray’s, more pain. Mike brought Carol to the ER. I told her it was no big deal I’d be out in the morning. The nurses gave her the task of putting ice on my pelvis. I didn’t know why. Learned later, internal bleeding.

Finally, the gift of morphine. Pain was gone. Can I leave now?
Six hours of surgery.

Both arms broken, both wrists fractured and dislocated, compound fractures in my left hand (the sticks), fractured pelvis, broken back, both knees fractured and as a bonus, fractured right patella that was removed during surgery.
More morphine please.

Gary is in intensive care at South Bay hospital they told me, being cared for.

On June 24th, officer’s Jim Chizmar and Spike Kelly came to the hospital.
Gary died this morning…………
Gary’s memorial service drew hundreds of police officers from all over the state. Police helicopters flew past my hospital window in the missing man formation. Body Glove donated their boat to spread Gary’s ashes at sea off of Torrance beach.
A lot of time was spent in physical therapy or “pain and torture”. More surgeries. I regained use of my limbs, my left hand was functional. I got to learn how to walk again. I could finally go home after three months, two at LCM and a month at Daniel Freeman hospital for PT and OT and more surgeries.

The number of visitors to the hospital slowed, but Carol came every day
I spent three months in the hospital. The nursing staff was incredible and caring. They had to do everything. They fed me, changed my bedding, bathed me, gave me my meds, everything.

Carol and I got married on Gary’s birthday, March 19th.
Hermosa Beach Police officer Chuck Griffitts, Gary’s academy classmate, son was born at LCM, he named him Gary. He became a police officer.
I was forced to take a disability retirement in June 1983 when my 4850 time ran out. More surgeries, more PT.

The deuce that hit us had a .13% BAC. He was found guilty by a jury of one count of misdemeanor DUI and given probation.

In July 1985 I returned to full duty. I went back on motorcycle duty in 1995 and took a service retirement in 2008

We learned much later, the two motorcycle riders we were chasing had committed a robbery in another city.

Carol and I divorced but have stayed friends. I will, for the rest of my life be grateful to her for getting me through the most difficult, significant, life changing event I’ve ever experienced. Nothing before or since has been this bad.

I think about my best friend Gary Dean Moss every day

Paul Wolcott
Hermosa Beach Police Department, Retired Detective Sergeant

June 22, 2022

Happy Birthday my sweet Gary. You are still loved and remembered always. Ride with the Angels until we meet again. ❤️

Judi

March 20, 2022

You are rememberd

Friend Tim Foppiano
SBCoFD Retired

June 25, 2021

The Hermosa Beach Police Department remembers Officer Moss on the 39th anniversary of his death. You are not forgotten. Rest in peace and God bless your family.

Paul LeBaron, Chief of Police
Hermosa Beach Police Department

June 23, 2021

Thank you for your service and always know that your sacrifice is one that will never be forgotten. Rest in peace always.

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

June 24, 2020

I went thru the reserve academy with Gary in 1980 and then the full time academy right after that. We worked together on graveyard, he was a great friend. He introduced me to Baileys Irish Crème and also Long Island Ice Tea. I have a son that was born right after Gary died. I named him after Gary and he is now 37 (almost 38) years old and working as a police sergeant now. Gary he continues to carries your picture everyday to remind him who he was named after and to be the best person he can be. You are thought of often and will never be forgotten.

Chuck Griffitts, Retired Police LT
Riverside Police Department after Hermosa Beach Police Department

June 17, 2020

After a career in public safety, it is inevitable that we will have lost friends in the line of duty. This was a fine young man, his life was cut short, and he is surely missed by all who loved him. Rest In Peace Gary.

Friend Tim Foppiano
SBCoFD Retired

June 12, 2020

As a member of the Hermosa Beach Police Department I want to use this forum to honor Officer Moss for his ultimate sacrifice. His memory is still alive and the employees at HBPD work each day knowing who he is and what he did for each of us. God bless Gary and his surviving family.

Paul LeBaron, Chief of Police
Hermosa Beach Police Department

May 19, 2020

It is sad to see some of these officers get killed by individuals that are not responsible of their actions. Officer Moss only had a year and a couple of months with the Hermosa Beach Police Department and only the age of 26. I learned that, any day can be your last day on patrol whether it is by a criminal or a accident. For Officer Moss that was the case, just doing his duty of servicing and protecting his community.

Drunk driving has been big issue in the area of south bay due to the fact of the amount bars around the area. It is not fair that people like this get away with their life, while others pay with their life. There is number of Peace Officers that have lost their life due to drunk drivers.

Deputy Trainee Ortiz
Los Angeles County Sheriff

April 4, 2019

You are remembered

Friend Tim Foppiano
SBCoFD Retired

August 4, 2018

Rest In Peace Brother in Blue. Thank you and your family and coworkers for your and their sacrifice and service.

Officer Mike Robinson (Ret.)
Upland Police Dept. CA

June 24, 2018

35 years ago, working with my best friend and partner, Gary Dean Moss. 20 minutes before the end of our shift. 20 minutes before we would be on our way to see our girlfriends. Grateful for making it safely through another day of police work. Not knowing how violently and quickly life would end for Gary and life would change for me.
Officer Gary Dean Moss was killed in the line of duty while protecting the citizens of our city that night. I watched him die in the street, unable to do anything for him due to our injuries at the hands of a petty drug dealer out on bail.
So many people courageously and valiantly did everything they could to save Gary’s life and help me. I will forever be grateful to Paul Burch, Phil Keenan, Mike Higashi, Mike Kaye, Fred Schumacher and so many others, from the police officers, paramedics, ambulance crews, ER nurses, doctors and surgeons all pulling together to save our lives. They saved me, there was nothing they could do for Gary.
From the ER through the surgeries, rehabilitation, more surgeries, more physical therapy, more surgery, more PT and finally back on the job after three years from that day, Carol Glover was there. I could never in any lifetime repay her for that. And, I will never forget Gary.

Sgt. Paul Wolcott (Retired)
Hermosa Beach PD

June 26, 2017

Gary you are remembered. Rest In Peace, God Bless. May he watch over you, your family , and your friends. It is a honor to have known and worked with you.

Captain retired Tim Foppiano
SBCoFD

June 25, 2017

My thoughts are with you still...so many years have passed and still I wish for one more day. Thank you for so many happy memories...surfing trips in Baja, riding dirt bikes in Gorman...Well you rode while I putted around on your mom's scooter! I still hold you close in my heart and I will never forget you. I love you.

Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor
California Highway Patrol

September 22, 2015

Gary,
Rest in Peace my friend. You are not forgotten.

Tim
Friend

July 13, 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
Texas

June 24, 2015

You are remembered Gary. To young, to soon. Rest in peace, and I hope and pray all who know and love you have only the happiest memories of you. You are and always will be a Cop!

Gods Speed

Capt. Tim Foppiano (Retired)
San Bernardino County Fire

June 23, 2014

Love you Gary....not a day goes by without some thought of you

Lieutenant Chuck Griffitts
Riverside Police Dept

March 30, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GARY, We had so many good times together You are alway in my heart Love and Miss you so much not a day goes by that I don't think about you
REST IN PEASE

TOM and MARTHA
Your Brother and Sister in Law

March 19, 2014

I still consider Gary my best of friends. We met as electricians working together at Mc Donnell Douglas for 2 years before joining HBPD together in 1980. We rode Motorcycles together often in our spare time. I remember those years like they were yesterday and will never forget my friend.

Brian Boyd
Former Officer HBPD

May 2, 2013

Was here to leave a reflection for Dep. Mackay, felt the need to pay a visit. In rememberence my friend. Introduce all the guys in heaven to Mackay, he's good troop.

Capt. Tim Foppiano (Ret)
Friend and co- worker HBPD

February 22, 2013

My Gary, my first love. I think of you often and dream of what might have been. I will never forget you and will always love you. Rest in peace, my sweet Gary.

Judi

March 10, 2011

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

Officer 11169

October 23, 2009

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