SELMA – From now on, flags in Selma will fly at half-mast on the anniversary of Officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr.’s death as a way to remember and honor the service and selflessness of the young officer killed last year.
To mark the first anniversary of Carrasco’s death on Jan. 31, the Selma Police Department officially dedicated the memorial erected outside the police station on Third Street in downtown Selma to Carrasco and the legacy he left behind. Hundreds gathered for the ceremony commemorating the first Selma officer to ever die in the line of duty.
“It’s an honor to be speaking up here, emotional as it is,” Sgt. Andrew Guzman said to start the dedication. “I had the honor and great joy of supervising Gonzalo Carrasco and serving next to him for the short time that he was here. … It means a lot to everybody in this building — officers, dispatchers, personnel — that you all showed up.”
Carrasco, 24, died on Jan. 31, 2023, while patrolling Pine Street in Selma. The police department said he was flagged down by a homeowner who had a suspicious man on their property. As Carrasco approached the man, he was shot at and severely wounded; he was taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, but did not survive.
Speaking at the dedication, Selma Chief of Police Rudy Alcaraz shared the John F. Kennedy quote etched onto Carrasco’s memorial: “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” Alcaraz said that while the first phrase is difficult to digest, it is something that must be accepted.
“As we all stand here today, we know that true evil does exist in our world, thus our law enforcement professionals work tirelessly to keep it at bay,” Alcaraz said. “To further combat that evil, I ask that we go back to our lives and live as he lived, selflessly and for others. I believe this is our ability to make our communities and world a better place; this is how we can continue to honor him and ensure his idea lives on.”
Carrasco grew up in Reedley, where he served as a police explorer for the Reedley Police Department. He joined the Selma Police Department as a sworn officer in 2021.
Carrasco is survived by his parents Veronica and Gonzalo Sr., his siblings Alma, Paola and Christopher, his girlfriend Karla Alvarez, who is a police officer in Dinuba, and his infant son Maximus. Carrasco died less than a month before the birth of his son.
Growing up, Carrasco dedicated his life to his dream of becoming a police officer, Alcaraz said. Even still, Carrasco was sure to help his parents in supporting their family with work in the fields when times were tough.
“It is those values of selflessness and service to others which made him the man he was and the man we are all here today honoring,” Alcaraz said.
At the dedication ceremony, law enforcement officers, fire and emergency medical services personnel and municipal leaders from Dinuba, Reedley, Kingsburg, Fowler, Clovis, Fresno and more were present to pay their respects.
Students from the Selma High School choir performed the national anthem and officers from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Clovis Police Department and Fresno Police Department completed the presentation of the colors.
Following an invocation from Father Abel Loera of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Selma Cmdr. Rene Garza read a proclamation from the Selma City Council that was first shared on March 20, 2023, declaring all city flags to be flown at half-mast on the anniversary of Carrasco’s death.
“Be it further proclaimed that Mayor Scott Robertson of the city of Selma offers on behalf of our city and council our utmost appreciation and gratitude to a true public servant, the man and police officer Gonzalo Carrasco, may he rest in eternal peace,” Garza read from the proclamation.