A Los Angeles Police Department cop who died of coronavirus complications on Friday is the department’s first front-line officer to die of the disease, leaving behind his partner who is 20 weeks pregnant with twins.
Officer Valentin ‘Val’ Martinez, 45, has become the first sworn LAPD officer to die of COVID-19, and the second coronavirus-related officer death in the department.
Martinez was a 13-year veteran who worked as a patrol officer in the Mission Division in San Fernando Valley.
‘Today we lost one of our own, Officer Valentin “Val” Martinez #38701 to COVID-19.’ wrote the Mission Station on Twitter.
‘We are deeply sadden by this horrible news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all his loved ones. Thank you for your 13 years of service. Rest Easy Brother.’
The Mission Division erected a small memorial for Martinez in their department building with candles, flower bouquets and a photo of him.
His death came just weeks after senior detention officer Erica McAdoo, 39, became the first non-sworn LAPD officer to die of COVID-19.
The 45-year-old is survived by his mother, siblings and pregnant partner, Megan Flynn.
Flynn is around four months pregnant with the couple’s twin boys that are due in November.
According to the official memorial page Val’s Funds, Martinez tested positive for COVID-19 in May and is believed to have contracted it from work.
‘He fought COVID at home for one week before being rushed to Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita with worsening symptoms,’ the site read.
‘Val was transferred to the ICU at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica on June 10th in order to be placed on a ECMO machine, as his symptoms grew more dire.’
Martinez unfortunately succumbed to the illness after two months of courageously fighting.
‘Val fought for his life every hour, but unfortunately, at 5:33AM on July 24th, Val passed away,’ the site said.
Martinez’ death comes after California officially surpassed New York, the original pandemic epicenter, to have the highest number of cases in the country.
The Golden State, like several other ‘hot spot’ states, have struggled in recent weeks to contain infections.
Los Angeles has the highest count of cases and deaths throughout California – prompting Mayor Eric Garcettit to note that the county is ‘on the brink’ of a second stay-at-home order.
A GoFundMe was also created to help cover the ‘lifetime of expenses ahead’ for Megan as she prepares for the babies arrival.
The couple wasn’t married when Martinez tragically passed away, meaning her health benefits and other expenses are no longer covered by the LAPD.
A number of law enforcement departments and officials shared tributes to Martinez on social media following his death.
Both LAPD Chief Michael Moore and Assistant Commanding Office Alfred Labrada shared photos of the couple on Twitter.
‘Ofcr Martinez, May God welcome you home,’ wrote Moore, while Labrada said ‘Val Rest In Peace Hero #GodSpeed.’
The Los Angeles Police Protective League wrote that Martinez ‘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,’ they wrote.
Sergeant Garcia called Martinez’s passing a ‘very sad day for the LAPD & Martinez family…May you Rest In Peace Brother.’
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office shared a photo of the Sheriff badge with a mourning band placed over top.
‘Today we salute him & our fellow partners @LAPDHQ. We thank him for his service. Our hearts go out to him and his family,’ they wrote.
In an email obtained by KTLA 5, Chief Moore allowed officers to wear the mourning band as a way to pay tribute to Martinez.
‘Officer Martinez passed away after a long, courageous battle with COVID-19,’ the email read.
‘Our hearts and prayers go out to his loved ones, friends, and his Mission Area family as they grieve the loss of a fallen hero. I am authorizing the wearing of the mourning band in honor of Officer Martinez.’
Shannon Flynn Bevers, a relative of Megan Flynn, shared a heartfelt post on Facebook after Martinez died.
‘At 5:33AM this morning, Val lost his fight to Covid-19. Megan, myself, Val’s mom and one of his brothers were able to be in the ICU with Val,’ she wrote.
‘I can’t even begin to articulate what a beautiful man Val was. He stole all of our hearts instantly and will be missed by many.
‘Thank you to all of our friends, family and community for sharing your love, prayers, healing energy and loving thoughts these past months. It was very comforting knowing you were all there.’