Thousands gathered today to pay tribute to a Galt police officer fatally shot while on duty last week.
Friends, family, clergy and law enforcement officers remembered 35-year-old Kevin Tonn a man who had dedicated his life to public service and who ultimately fulfilled a life-long dream to be a police officer.
Tonn, who was sworn into the small Galt Police Department three and a half years ago, was killed Tuesday while investigating a reported burglary. The man suspected of shooting him, 30-year-old Humphrey Gascon, then shot himself.
As many as 4,000 mourners - including law enforcement officers from across the state - came to Adventure Christian Church to pay their respects to Tonn, who was assigned to the K9 Unit. His partner, a German Shepherd named Yaro, sat near the casket during the service and whimpered sadly at his gravesite.
Raised in the Sacramento region, Tonn graduated from Roseville High School and then joined the U.S. Army, becoming a military police officer. He worked as a firefighter - volunteer and full-time - after his service and came back to California in time to join the Sacramento Sheriff's Academy in 2009.
Tonn was remembered as a dedicated public servant with a strong moral code, integrity and a great sense of humor.
Former Galt police Chief Loren Cattolico, who hired Tonn, said he was amazed by Tonn's desire to become a Galt police officer despite opportunities in the region to join bigger departments that paid more money.
"He wanted to be a Galt police officer worse than anything in the world," Cattolico said. "He wanted to be in Galt; he wanted to be a part of the community."
Part of Tonn's draw to Galt was the fact that his cousin, to whom he shared a bond like a brother, already was a police detective there. Jarrett Tonn spoke at the service and said his cousin's death was "sad" and "awful" but not a tragedy.
"Giving one's life to protect others is never a tragedy," Jarrett Tonn said. "Kevin knew that ... and believed in that until his last breath."
For the full story, read tomorrow's Sacramento Bee.