BOSTON (CBS) — An active-duty Boston Police officer died from coronavirus, the department confirmed Tuesday. Officer Jose Fontanez was 53 years old and had been with the Boston Police Department for 29 years.
“He served District E13 in Jamacia Plain since 1996, that’s nearly a quarter of a century serving one community. He was a decorated officer,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.
“We lost a hero today to this virus. We honor him and remember him as a hero because as a police officer he served our community and he stood in harm’s way for us, he made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Walsh said Fontanez’s death is a reminder of the courage police officers, firefighters, EMTs and health care workers face in the pandemic.
“I ask every single person who can, to stay home in memory of Officer Fontanez, stay at home out of respect and gratitude for the first responders and healthcare workers who are working for us the way he was. By staying home, you can slow the spread of the virus and reduce the risk to our public safety heroes,” the mayor added.
Fontanez was married with four children and one grandchild.
His son Keaton said Fontanez was hospitalized since April 3 and it’s been hard to watch his dad get sicker all the way from his home in Florida.
“He was a great father, he really cared about his children,” Keaton Fontanez said. “I think it’s just kind of crazy how quickly this all happened because like a month ago he was fine, he was perfect.”
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said, “Let me tell you folks, this was a great man, loved this city, of course loved his family, and loved his family of blue and served them well…He fought a valiant and courageous fight against COVID-19. I’d like to thank the nurses and doctors at the Boston Medical Center for taking care of our brother. And I’d like to thank all of the first responders, our health care providers, workers, that each and every day are helping us to fight this horrendous virus.”
Gov. Charlie Baker said COVID-19 makes the job a lot harder for police officers.
“I say all the time, especially about folks in law enforcement, that they open doors every day where they have no idea what’s going to be on the other side. They walk up to a car on the side of the road and have no idea what’s going to happen then. The complexity for them associated with the presence of a virus-like COVID-19 just amps up in a significant way almost everything associated with the work that they do,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said. “My heart, and I think everybody’s heart, goes out to him and to his family and especially to his brothers and sisters in uniform.”
Sixty-seven Boston police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, 53 are still out, Gross said.