Sister of Costa Mesa fire captain killed honors his memory with tattoo

TEMECULA, Calif. (KABC) -- Rachel Kreza-Diehl remembers her brother as she points to photos of him.

Her brother, Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Cpt. Michael Kreza, died last November after he was struck and killed while riding his bicycle by a driver allegedly under the influence.

"It's very difficult to know that this wonderful community leader, father, brother, uncle, husband is taken from us in a split of a second for someone else's senseless choice," Kreza-Diehl said.

In the days that followed after his death, the community left flowers, candles and a ghost bike at the site, but almost a year later, it has faded away.

Kreza-Diehl said she wanted a lasting memorial for her brother in the form of a tattoo.

She turned to Dedicated Tattoos in Temecula and friend Chris Turnbow. The tattoo artist says he often helps families with tattoos that pay tribute to lost loved ones.

"They bring in images or tell stories and they let us know the piece they want, how they want it to look, the position on their body and just go from there," Turnbow said.

With her son and friends at her side Kreza-Diehl inked a permanent memorial to her brother and hero.

The final result: angel wings enveloping her brother's initials.

"He is my angel, with my mom, and he'll forever be in my heart," she said.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.