Sergeant Leonard Robert Luna, Jr.
Hawthorne Police Department, California
End of Watch: Monday, July 8, 2013
Tour of Duty: 10 years
Badge Number: 328
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
Date of Incident: July 8, 2013
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Sergeant Leonard Luna was killed in a motorcycle accident on I-105, near Long Beach Boulevard in Lynwood, while en route to pickup his issued motorcycle from the repair shop in Long Beach.
Another vehicle struck his motorcycle, causing him to suffer serious injuries. He was transported to St. Francis Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries.
Sergeant Luna had served with the Hawthorne Police Department for 10 years and served as the agency’s Traffic Bureau commander. He is survived by his parents and brother.
Hawthorne police Sgt. Leonard Robert Luna Jr. was remembered Friday evening by family, friends and hundreds of his fellow South Bay officers in a burial ceremony at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Luna, 42, died July 8 while riding his Harley-Davidson Street Glide to pick up his police motorcycle in Long Beach. He was commander of the department’s traffic bureau, overseeing traffic enforcement and driving-under-the-influence prevention operations.
His close friends and family held a private funeral at St. James Catholic Church in Redondo Beach before the burial. Following that, they followed his flag-draped casket to a hilltop at Green Hills for scripture readings, a seven-rifle volley, a bagpipe procession, a police honor guard presentation of the U.S. flag to his family, a trumpet rendition of Taps, and the release of white doves.
"Even the longest life seems far too short for family and friends," police chaplain Jose L. Garcia said. "Death is only a transition. Leonard Robert Luna is just beginning to live with Christ. We return the body of our beloved brother Leonard back to the Earth."
Luna graduated from Torrance High School and worked in the hotel industry before attending a police academy, where he graduated in 2003 and was immediately hired in Hawthorne. He was promoted to detective after working as a patrol officer for three years. He handled crimes against juveniles until becoming a patrol sergeant in 2010. This year, he was made the department’s traffic bureau commander. He also served on the SWAT team from 2007 to 2009.
He was an avid motorcycle rider, and spent much of his free time riding with his father and friends.
An end-of-watch police dispatch was read at the end of Friday’s burial service.
"This is an end-of-watch broadcast for Sgt. Leonard Luna, serial No. 328," the dispatcher said. "Sgt. Luna, you sir will be remembered forever. Thank you for sharing your life with us."
The 2011 death of Hawthorne police motor officer Andrew Garton was also remembered on Friday. Garton, 44, was killed in a crash with an El Segundo police motorcycle officer while they were escorting a funeral procession for a Manhattan Beach police officer who died from cancer.
Garcia asked Luna’s friends and family to remember Luna as he was in life, not in death, and read from 1 Corinthians 15.
"For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed," he said. "For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. … Death has been swallowed up in victory."