Jonah Hernandez laid to rest in El Paso


The morning before Jonah Hernandez was killed, he made sure to spend a few minutes helping his wife.

Yesenia Lopez had been sick the morning of Feb. 11, so she needed help getting out of bed. Hernandez did just that. He helped her out of bed, shared a cup of coffee with her and then brought her back to bed before leaving his hometown, El Paso, for his place of work in Las Cruces. It was a small way the married couple could celebrate Valentine’s Day together a little early.

Hernandez died hours later. On the corner of Valley Drive and Amador Avenue, he was stabbed to death while responding to a trespassing call at a local business. He was the first member of the Las Cruces Police Department to die in the line of duty.

On Feb 21, the department and his family laid Hernandez to rest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cemetery in El Paso, following a service.

“Today is about remembering Officer Jonah Hernandez and honoring not just his sacrifice, but his life,” LCPD Chief Jeremy Story said. “Many of us remember him as Officer Hernandez, a man who dedicated himself to a calling that very few people can understand or comprehend.”

Story was one of several who spoke about Hernandez during the funeral service.

“This horrendous event has fractured Las Cruces. And there are ripples that have spread throughout the United States. The events of that day will leave a scar on our city that will never fully heal. But Jonah was not just a police officer. He was a father, husband, a son. He was a brother, a nephew, and uncle, a cousin,” Story said.

Lopez also spoke about Hernandez. For a crowd of about 200 – mostly police officers and their families – she recounted how she and Hernandez met 11 years ago. It was a simple meeting, she said. It happened at a bar with an exchange of phone numbers. But afterward, they spent the week together and launched into a relationship shortly after.

“It was a non-stop adventure,” Lopez said.

Lopez and others who knew Hernandez described his bright presence to those around him.

 “He showed me a sense of peace and safety I had never known before,” Lopez said. “I could follow him blindly and know that I would be safe.”

Hernandez leaves behind his wife and his two sons, Sebastian Jonah, 10, and 2-year-old Joaquin Leonel. And, as Chief Story alluded to, a community he served.

“And as dark as this time is, the morning will come. But let us never forget the pain that is felt by his family and his friends in the community. Let us never forget the impact he has had on each one of us. There is a wound that will remain, and should remain, because Officer Hernandez will always be a part of us. Rest in Peace, Jonah, you are very loved,” Story said.

Slain Officer, laid to rest, Jonah Hernandez