El Monte officer laid to rest in tribute to hometown hero

Thirty-one-year-old Officer Joseph Santana was the only boy in the family and was adored by his two sisters. Bianca and Jessica Santana called their hero brother "a prankster." The three of them were so close in age that they referred to themselves as the "Three Musketeers."

The Santana sisters eulogized their late brother Wednesday to a packed church in Diamond Bar. It was a solemn event, the sisters choking back tears even when recollecting happy moments growing up together.


Outside St. Denis Catholic Church in Diamond Bar was a sea of blue uniforms under a hot June blue sky. The El Monte Police Department was fully represented. But there were also patches visible representing departments as far away as Portland, Oregon.

Joseph Santana was a local boy, who wanted nothing more than to give back to the community that raised him. His stepdad Joe Garcia, also on the El Monte Police Department, was a role model for him. Joseph’s former school principal showed FOX 11 a recent picture of the two officers posing side by side.

Officer Santana leaves behind a family. He and his wife Sasha have three children, a girl and a set of twins only two years old.

His sisters said today, "It was his dream to be an officer in the El Monte Police Department. That dream was taken from him."

Officer Santana was killed in the line of duty less than one year after signing on with the department.