Fresno cop dies of COVID-19, department honors him

Posted at 9:27 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-02 00:27:07-05

FRESNO, Calif. — The Fresno Police Department is mourning the loss of a fellow officer.

A veteran officer, who died not long after being diagnosed with and battling COVID-19.

The Fresno Police department lost a man of service this week, leaving Chief Andy Hall grappling with his emotions.

"Well I can tell you personally I'm heartbroken and I'm angry, you know I don't know why this disease picks and chooses its victims," said Hall.

COVID-19's victim within the department was Angel De la Fuente, who spent 22 years of his life serving the city of Fresno as a police officer. Before that, he served his county as a member of the United States Army.

"Angel is a prince among men. He started his life as a soldier serving his country and later served his community, he's always felt that need to serve his fellow mankind," added Hall.

And after decades of service, his life was cut short, he died Monday night at the age of 49 years old, this procession down highway 168 and downtown Fresno honoring his life.

Chief Hall says the department has seen roughly more than 100 employees come down with COVID with close to 500 having to quarantine at some point, but this is the first officer he's lost to the virus. And he's certainly not alone in his sorrow.

"Angel was one of those guys where as soon as you met him you liked him and he had an incredible reputation with the other officers," said Fresno Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer.

Much of De La Fuente's 22 years of service were spent on the south side of Fresno under former Chief of Police and current Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer, in fact, he was one of Dyer's first hires as chief.

"When you think today about what you want your police officers to be like you want them to be like Angel," added Dyer.

Like Angel, who the department believes likely contracted the virus while on the job, and whose death will be considered a line-of-duty death by Fresno police.

A life of servitude cut short, but a legacy left behind that's worth following.

"So he's been very active within the department, he's well liked, a hard worker, an easy smile, and he's going to be missed in this organization," added Hall.