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LAPD Officer Nicholas Choung Lee honored at funeral service

City officials and law enforcement officers gathered for the funeral of LAPD Officer Nicholas Choung Lee.
March 13, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
City officials and hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered in downtown Los Angeles Thursday for the funeral of LAPD Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, who died in an accident with a trash truck in Beverly Hills.

Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Eric Garcetti attended the funeral, which was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and presided by Archbishop Jose Gomez.

"Nick Lee had love that he radiated out," Garcetti said during the service. "We mourn a great man here today."

Lee immigrated from Korea with his parents at the age of 6 and grew up in Koreatown. After graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 1996, he joined the LAPD in 1998. He was a 16-year LAPD veteran who received more than 70 commendations.

"He was one of us. He was the best of us. But even more importantly, we are him," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "What does that mean? That means that heroes never die. They live forever in the hearts of their brothers and sisters."

When addressing Lee's partner, Beck revealed that he, too, lost his partner in a traffic collision.

"Mine died in my arms. He will never leave you. He will always be in your heart, just like he'll be in all of our hearts," Beck said.

Lee, 40, and his partner were traveling in their patrol car when they collided with a truck hauling a trash container at the intersection of Loma Vista Drive and Robert Lane on Friday morning. The patrol car was nearly demolished and Lee was killed on impact. The rookie female officer was treated and released from a local hospital. Authorities said the truck may have lost its brakes.

Lee's younger brother, Danny, also spoke during the funeral, saying his brother taught him courage.

"He taught me to meet those challenges that life throws at you," he said. "How do we honor the life of Nicholas Lee? By going through life with meaning ... by living lives of service and sacrifice, as my brother did."

On Wednesday night, a rosary service was held at St. Basil Catholic Church on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown. Lee leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.


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