Valley Says Farewell to Fallen Deputy

Imperial County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Redondo is Laid to Rest on Saturday, July 10, in El Centro

Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Redondo’s mother, Janelle Frazier, is comforted by her husband and Redondo’s stepfather, Sgt. Eric Frazier, as she weeps, clutching an American flag, during her son’s burial at Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro on Saturday, July 10. Redondo, 25, was killed in the line of duty during a traffic collision on June 26. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO
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EL CENTRO — The mournful wail of the bagpipes led the casket of Imperial County sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Redondo to the stage of the theater at Southwest High in El Centro on Saturday morning, July 10, as hundreds said their final farewell in person to the young deputy killed in the line of duty.

Hundreds gathered inside the Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theater at Southwest High School in El Centro on Saturday morning, July 10, to say farewell to Deputy Anthony Redondo, the Imperial County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty on June 26. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO

The Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theater was almost entirely filled with family, friends, members of the public and mostly fellow law enforcement officers from throughout the region who gathered for a Mass and memorial for the 25-year-old Redondo, who died in a traffic collision in his patrol vehicle while responding to a call the evening of June 26.

Thanks to a livestream of the two-hour-plus services, as many as 10,000 others have since watched the memorial as of Sunday morning, July 11, that would end with the same bagpipers — the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipe & Drums — leading Redondo’s remains to the high school’s parking lot for a law enforcement vehicle procession to Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro, where the deputy was laid to rest.

The morning Mass was led by Father Mark Edney of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the services saw various speakers, including Sheriff Ray Loera, Undersheriff Fred Miramontes, and retired Brawley Police Chief Michael Crankshaw, among others.

During the services, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Robert Benavidez’s voice shook with emotion as he read a pair of letters from Redondo’s family members, one from the young deputy’s mother, Janelle Frazier, and an emotional tribute from his sister, Brianna Redondo.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Robert Benavidez tries to gather his emotions as he reads letters to the audience from Anthony Redondo’s mother and sister during funeral services at the Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theater at Southwest High School in El Centro on Saturday morning, July 10. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO

“You always made sure I was safe and make good decisions. When I was hurt, you were there to bring comfort. You were always there to protect me when I felt vulnerable or defeated. You’re my hero and always will be,” Benavidez read in part from Brianna’s letter.

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do without you, but what I do know is that you’ll never leave my side, as my guardian angel. I trusted you with my life, and I will continue to do so for the remainder of it. I love you more than words can describe, and I will continue to love and honor you in this life and the next.

“Until we meet again, goodbye my brother, my hero, my very best friend. Love Little Big Sis, Brianna,” the chief deputy finished.

Deputy Redondo was sworn in on Sept. 11, 2020, and his mother shared, through her letter read by Benavidez, when she knew her son’s dreams had come true.

“One day he came home, and he was telling me about his day with so much excitement. I told him, ‘Son, you were so happy to go to work I love it!’ And he replied, ‘Mom it’s because I have a job that I’m proud of. I wake up with a purpose every day now. To help people,’” Janelle Frazier wrote.

The emotion of the day came to a head at Evergreen Cemetery, where Redondo’s stepfather, sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Frazier, head of patrol operations for the North County division, could be seen holding a weeping Janelle Frazier as she clutched the American flag that had adorned her son’s casket, sharply folded and presented to her.

Imperial County Sheriff’s Office deputies salute in the background as fellow deputies in the foreground fold the American flag covering Deputy Anthony Redondo’s casket at Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro on Saturday, July 10. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO

Amid a heat wave, the burial advanced relatively quickly, with the L.A. Police Emerald Society Pipe & Drums playing again, the law enforcement community offering a 21-gun salute, and taps being played before Redondo’s coffin was lowered into the ground.

There was a palpable shift in the mood as hundreds of people reconvened for a celebration of life gathering at the Casa De Mañana building at the Imperial Valley Fairgrounds in Imperial.

Photos of Anthony Redondo’s childhood were projected over his memorial inside the Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theater at Southwest High School in El Centro on Saturday morning, July 10. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO

It was clear from the cacophonous sounds of so many people speaking at once, laughing and reminiscing, that the morning was a time to weep, and the celebration of life was the time to smile and think of the joy that Redondo brought to so many around him.

Many of Redondo’s classmates from his time at the Imperial Valley College law enforcement academy attended the services and sat together at the celebration of life, reminiscing about their time together. 

“He was a good friend and an awesome person,” said academy classmate Carlos Gutierrez. “Anthony he had a lot of heart, very dedicated to what he wanted to do and his goals. Very, very outstanding person and he was true to what he wanted to do, and it reflected in his personality and as a person as well.”

Another fellow cadet, Laura Rauno, added: “He was in the same class with me throughout the whole academy, and I remember motivating him and helping him out all the time so that we could finish strong all together as a class. He always gave it his all, even though some days are harder than others, they just really determined to get through.”

Imperial County sheriff’s deputies salute the late Anthony Redondo outside the Southwest theater in El Centro as his casket is moved from the memorial to the gravesite on Saturday morning, July 10. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO

Inside the Casa De Mañana building, Betty Tucker of El Centro could be seen coordinating the food service of barbecue being served buffet-style by Redondo’s many fellow deputies.

Stories about Redondo and the voices telling them blended together in the room the rest of the afternoon.

He left an impression on the many with whom he crossed paths, including his third-grade teacher, Victoria Gonzales.

“He was such an amazing young boy. Anthony offered to be the master of ceremony for a play put on by the special education class. He had no second thoughts about performing with the class. He faithfully went to practice with them, interacted with them and showed patience compassion and the ability to interact with them with respect and opened up his heart to them,” Gonzales said.

Dozens of vehicles, law enforcement and civilian alike, make up the process that entered Evergreen Cemetery in El Centro, where Deputy Anthony Redondo was laid to rest on Saturday, July 10. | MARCIE LANDEROS PHOTO

“He showed up all dressed up with a suit. He took pride in his role and was a role model to all the students.  He was only in third grade. He was a shining light even back then. He was the narrator for the play. He was a gentleman, great student, and a wonderful classmate, always helping others. He always talked about his mom as well. He really adored her,” she added.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Reyes, who was a longtime friend of the family having worked with Redondo’s stepfather, eventually became Redondo’s coworker. He said the young deputy “always had a smile no matter what.”

“He was always happy, he always looked happy all the time, and proud,” Reyes added.

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