Neighbors remember fallen Mesa Police officer - FOX 10 News |

Neighbors remember fallen Mesa Police officer

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The medical examiners office has identified the wrong-way driver that killed a Mesa Police Officer as 42 year-old Raul Silva Corona.

It is not known if Corona had been drinking at the time of the crash. Toxicology tests are being done, but it could be several weeks before the results of those tests are released.

Meanwhile, the Mesa community continues to honor Officer Brandon Mendoza. A vigil was held in his honor Tuesday night, but the people he served remember him in their own ways.

South Grande in Mesa is a small quiet street, a part of town that has been forever changed.

"When I heard it, it really pulled and tore something out of my heart," said Vanessa Bennett.

Vanessa Bennett has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years; part of each day included a chat with a friend as he drove by, police officer Brandon Mendoza.

"A lot of people wouldn't do it for an officer, but Brandon was totally different, he wasn't just a cop; he was part of the family and the community," she said.

Bennett spent the morning building a memorial to honor the fallen officer. A man she says she and her family credit with cleaning up the neighborhood by ridding it of drugs and encouraging her to get involved and care.

"He was very concerned, and he liked to help people," said Jamie Moore.

South Grand is part of beat 16, Officer Mendoza's beat included a four city block area, but residents here say he always took the time.

"He was here for us, everybody, not just one person, he was for everybody here in the neighborhood," said Fred Hatch.

For Bennett at least, Officer Mendoza's presence was a welcome sight, one she will cherish just like the friendship that grew.

"He was an outstanding police officer. He'll be well missed, I hope we get another one in this community just like him," said Bennett.

A visitation for Mendoza will be held Thursday night at All Saints Catholic church in Mesa, near Recker and McKellips.

The funeral will also be held there on Friday morning at 10 a.m.

The service will be immediately followed by a procession to Queen of Heaven cemetery in Mesa, near Gilbert and Baseline.
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