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2,000 Attend Services for Slain S.D. Officer : Crime: Chief Burgreen questions proliferation of guns in American society.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

More than 1,800 fellow law enforcement officers from San Diego and around the nation came Friday to hear a fallen colleague eulogized as a caring police officer whose boyish looks belied his determination and dedication to his job.

San Diego Police Officer Ronald Wayne Davis, 24, also was a devoted family man and friend, the mourners at First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley were told.

“I remember looking at him, and I looked at this boyish face, and I said, ‘Nobody checked his ID. You’ve got to be 21 to be a cop,’ because he looked so young,” said Davis’ sergeant at the Police Academy, Frank Bucheit, recalling his first meeting with Davis.

“Well, I’ll tell you folks, he may have looked young and boyish, but, man, what a person he was.”

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“Ron Davis was a great spouse. Ron Davis was a great father. Ron Davis was a great friend. And he was a good cop,” Bucheit told the more than 2,000 mourners, including Davis’ widow, Wendy, and his sons, Matt and Luke.

The funeral service led Police Chief Bob Burgreen to question the need for guns in American society. Davis, the youngest of three sons of an Oregon family, was shot to death Tuesday morning while responding to a domestic dispute in Southeast San Diego.

The gunman, Arnaldo Devilla Castillo, 30, a former hospital housekeeping aide, killed himself after an 11-hour manhunt at the apartment complex where the shooting took place.

In his eulogy, Bucheit said Davis “was a helper to us all, and he was a competitor, he wanted to win at all costs.” Bucheit went on to describe how Davis, in his senior year of high school, overcame illness to make four interceptions in a football game against a rival school.

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Davis, who was graduated from the Police Academy in 1989, was the first officer killed in the line of duty since 1988, when Jerry Hartless was shot while chasing a group of men in Southeast San Diego during a drug bust. Davis was the 28th San Diego police officer to die in the line of duty since 1913.

“He cared. He genuinely cared about the people that he worked with, and he cared about the people that he served in the community,” Bucheit said.

Davis has been praised by both fellow officers and residents for his role in cleaning up the apartment complex under a long-established police program called “problem-oriented policing.” He was slain at the same complex.

In an interview after the funeral, Wendy Davis said her husband and childhood sweetheart “loved his job.”

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“He was an officer. He was there for the people, and I think they knew that,” she told a reporter for KGTV (Channel 10).

Also after the service, Chief Burgreen said Ron Davis “didn’t have a chance” in the incident.

“There are some times when you never have a chance, and this is such a case,” the police chief said. “He stepped out of that car, and he’s not even out, and he gets shot by a man that he didn’t even know was armed.”

Burgreen went on to warn that “we have to get a handle on the guns” in the city.

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“I just have a generally bad feeling about the proliferation of guns and the fact that almost anyone can get a gun at any time,” Burgreen said.

“Not only can they, they are, and they are using them on innocent people. And police officers are just trying to do their jobs, and it makes me sick.

“As a society, we have to start asking ourselves, ‘What are we doing with all those guns out there, and do we really need them?’ ”

Davis’ body will be flown to his hometown of Brookings, Ore., for burial Monday, Sgt. Shawna Selby said.

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Castillo’s girlfriend, Lilia Bautista, was listed in fair condition Friday at Paradise Valley Hospital’s intensive care unit with broken ribs she suffered Tuesday at the hands of Castillo.


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