Funeral held for L.A. County deputy who ‘made his own path’

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva presents flag to Landen Albanese, the 11-year-old son of Deputy Thomas Albanese
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva presents a flag to Landen Albanese, the 11-year-old son of Deputy Thomas Albanese, who was killed Feb. 25 in a motorcycle accident while pursuing a traffic stop.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department motorcycle Deputy Thomas Albanese, who was killed in a collision in a Lakewood intersection last month while attempting to make a traffic stop, was eulogized Friday as a man who loved his job.

Albanese, 41, a seven-year veteran of the department and married father of 7- and 11-year-old sons, was attempting to pull over a black sedan just before 9 a.m. Feb. 25 when he was killed at the intersection of Paramount and Del Amo boulevards.

Pallbearers carrying casket of Deputy Thomas Albanese of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
Pallbearers carry the casket of Albanese at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs in Diamond Bar.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Albanese was northbound on Paramount Boulevard when a silver Mercedes-Benz, which was westbound on Del Amo Boulevard, struck him in the intersection. He was thrown from his motorcycle and died at the scene.

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served four tours of duty in Iraq, Albanese joined the Sheriff’s Department in July 2013 and became a deputy two years later. He held assignments at the Men’s Central Jail, Transit Services Bureau and at the Lakewood station as a field training officer and achieved his dream of becoming a motorcycle deputy. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the Pico Rivera station.

L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies were among attendees at the funeral services for Albanese.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

David Albanese spoke to mourners about his son, who joined the Marines like his father had.

“Tom made quite a mark,” the elder Albanese said. “I heard somebody say up here he followed in my footsteps. He might have started out [following] my own footsteps, but he made his own path, and I’ve always been very proud of him. ... He was so happy, and so proud to be a deputy. I did a ride-along with the man. I really enjoyed it. I was really proud to be with him that day.”

Two boys in suits and masks walk while carrying folded American flags.
Albanese’s sons Landen, 11, left, and Nolan, 7, carry flags at the service.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
People in formal clothing and masks sit, clasping arms and weeping.
Family members at the service. Albanese’s father recalled how excited his son was to become a motorcycle officer.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A deputy in a mask cries.
Deputy Guadalupe Calderon tears up as she remembers her colleague.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Family on foot and deputies on horseback behind a white hearse.
Mourners follow the hearse carrying Albanese, who was working overtime when he was killed.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)