BOSTON (CBS) – A procession through Boston brought a Boston Police officer, who died from complications of COVID-19, to a Jamaica Plain funeral home Thursday. It was in the line of duty that officer Jose Fontanez lost his life.
A hearse left Boston Medical Center at noon as his fellow officers saluted for the final time, his passing speaking to the new risks of the job. “They come to work on a daily basis when most people are told to stay home,” said Lawrence Calderone, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.
Fontanez’s family says the decorated officer, who has received numerous commendations, fought the virus for 11 days after being diagnosed April 3.
The procession took him past Boston Police headquarters, and past district E-13 in Jamaica Plain where he served 24 of his 29 years on the force. He was a humble man to those who knew him in the neighborhood. “It’s very sad, it feels like part of a family and we lost him,” said Alex Cherkos who works at a market next to the police station.
The death comes at a critical time for first responders. Boston Police say 67 officers have tested positive for COVID-19, officer Fontanez the first to die from the virus as police say first responders now face a hidden danger. “It’s new to us, new to you, new to the whole world. It’s a new way of policing we’ll have to get used to for the future,” said retired officer Jay Connolly.
Officer Fontanez was a married father of four with one grandchild. As masked officers stood the line in his honor, family was on their minds as well. “The fact they might be bringing something home is extremely worrisome for us,” said Calderone.