Bike ride held to raise funds, honor 1st LAPD officer who died from COVID-19

MISSION HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A memorial bicycle ride was held Saturday to honor the first LAPD officer to die in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officer Valentin Martinez died of COVID-19 on July 24, 2020, leaving behind his partner who was pregnant with their twin boys.

The 45-year-old worked patrol out of the Mission Division and had been with the department for 13 years.

Hundreds of officers, including Chief Michel Moore, as well as community members and supporters participated in Saturday's "1st Annual Val Martinez Bike Ride," which had routes of 20 miles and 40 miles.

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Megan Flynn - the mother of Martinez' twin boys, who are now eight months old - said she has been grateful at the community's "kindness and generosity" shown to her family, buying out all the items on her baby registry and continuing to contribute. The event was held to raise funds for the two boys.

A GoFundMe that was established after the officer's death is continuing to accept donations.

The department believes Martinez most likely contracted the coronavirus while on patrol. He tested positive in May 2020, was hospitalized in June and died in July.

Two other officers who also died from COVID-19 were also honored in the event.

Martinez was the department's first sworn officer, and second employee overall, to die from COVID-19.

As of last week, the LAPD reported seven sworn and two civilian employee deaths from COVID-19, with 2,747 employees overall testing positive for the virus.

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