It was important to Dan Walters not to be forgotten.
More than a year after his death, hundreds of police officers and friends assured that wouldn’t happen at a funeral postponed by COVID-19.
The former San Diego Padres catcher and police officer died in April 2020, 18 years after being paralyzed from being shot in the neck in Southcrest while on duty.
“It’s been way too long that we weren’t able to honor Dan,” San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said at Wednesday’s service at Shadow Mountain Church in El Cajon.
Services were livestreamed by Channel 10, KGTV on Facebook.
“Just as in baseball, Dan excelled in everything he did. He was an outstanding cop,” Nisleit said of Walters, who played for the Padres in 1992-93 and joined the police force in 1998.
Walters, 53 at his death, was described during the funeral as modest, compassionate and a gentle giant and warrior.
“Dan was a warrior through and through,” said police Sgt. John Lammarino.
“Dan inspired all of us who knew him and loved him,” and taught his friends how to deal with true adversity, Lammarino said.
After five years as an officer, Walters was injured when he was confronted by an armed suspect, was shot and then hit by a passing motorist resulting in two crushed cervical vertebrae.
Walters, who was born in Maine, graduated from Santana High School in Santee in 1984. He was drafted that same year by the Houston Astros and later played for the Padres. He also was a member of the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics.
Police Sgt. Lorraine Tangog said: “He loved all aspects of baseball, but I think he loved being a cop more.”
At the end of his remarks, Nisleit said: “My ask of everyone in this room, my ask of the law enforcement brothers and sisters: Never forget Dan Walters. Never forget the sacrifice that Dan Walters made. Never forget what Dan Walters stood for.”