LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A veteran Los Angeles police sergeant has died of COVID-19, the third officer to fall to the virus this year.
Sgt. Fred Cueto had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 22 years. The department said Cueto "was known for always having a smile & being a consummate professional."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has tragically struck close to home for the LAPD again," LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote on Twitter. "Sergeant Fred Cueto fought valiantly, but succumbed to the virus today. As we mourn the loss of one of our own, please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers tonight. Blessed are the Peacemakers."
COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for law enforcement officers this year across the United States, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks fallen officers. This year, at least 158 officers across the country have died from COVID-19, more than half the total deaths on duty from all causes of 272.
The LAPD lost detention officer Erica McAdoo and Officer Valentin Martinez to COVID-19 in July.
The Los Angeles Fire Department also lost firefighter paramedic Jose M. Perez in July.
The LAPD has had 929 employees test positive for coronavirus. As of Thursday, 258 were isolating at home as they continued to recover.
The LAFD has had 357 employees test positive, with 75 of them currently isolating and recovering at home and an additional five continuing to recover at home but no longer under quarantine.