Officer Valentin Martinez "lost his courageous battle with coronavirus this morning," according to an LAPD statement. Martinez is survived by his domestic partner, who is 20 weeks pregnant with his twins, his mother and siblings.
Martinez, 45, worked as a patrol officer with the department's Mission division, according to a tweet from Chief Michel Moore. The flags were lowered to half-staff at the Mission Hills police station in honor of Martinez.
Today we lost Officer Valentin Martinez, who tragically fell to COVID-19.— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) July 24, 2020
He worked as a patrol officer within @LAPDMission, dedicating his life to the people of LA. To his partner Megan, his mother, and siblings—our deepest condolences.
Ofcr Martinez, May God welcome you home. pic.twitter.com/rHObUO2lkz
The 13-year veteran of the department was once honored for his efforts to help save a heart attack victim.
The department said Martinez contracted the virus while on the job. His family says he had been fighting the virus since May before his condition took a turn for the worst.
"He was a hero lost way too early in life. All of our officers have placed themselves, and their families, at increased risk throughout the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We honor their sacrifice today," read a statement from the Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors.
A GoFundMe page and memorial fund have been set up to provide for his children and to help the family with funeral expenses.
Martinez's LAPD benefits are set to end at the end of the month, leaving his partner Megan Flynn in a tough financial situation ahead the birth of twin boys expected in November.
The tragic news comes nearly three weeks after the LAPD announced the death of Senior Detention Officer Erica McAdoo.
As of Friday, 453 employees with the department have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
LAPD senior detention officer dies from COVID, marking the agency's first coronavirus-related death