STOCKTON (CBS13) — A prayer service was held to honor the life of a retired police officer who was murdered on the streets of Stockton on Tuesday.

A community came together to offer support for friends and family of Laurits “Pepe” Petersen.

“My dad was was loved by everybody,” Dennis Petersen said. “You can’t go a place in this city that does not know Pepe Petersen.”

Pastor Carlos Molina of La Morada Church says Petersen was a member of their congregation for more than 25 years.

“It was not his time yet, but we thank God for his life,” he said. “It is really tough because it was unexpected; we just talked to him Sunday.”

The 75-year-old retired Stockton Police officer was fatally stabbed and shot on Tuesday morning. Investigators say a good Samaritan, Patrick Garcia, stepped in to help, but was seriously wounded. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

Now, Petersen’s grieving family members want Garcia to know they appreciate his effort.

“I just hope that the person that helped my dad is watching, and I hope you’re OK and I thank you so much for trying to help my dad,” Dennis Petersen said.

The congregation wants Petersen’s family to know he will live on in their memories.

“He had a good life,” Molina said. “He was a blessing to so many, he was an impact to our community and that’s the legacy we should follow.”

The suspect, 59-year-old Rafael Watts, remains behind bars facing murder charges.


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