There is a freeway interchange named in his honor. A large sports park in Glendora bears his name. But 16 years to the very day after Glendora Agent Louis A. Pompei's death, Police Chief Rob Castro finds it hard to believe that there are very few left at the Glendora Police Department who knew the officer affectionately known as Louie.
Still, the death of Glendora's first officer to die in the line of duty has had a signifant impact on the department to this day.
On June 9, 1995, Pompei was shot and killed while attempting to stop a robbery at a Vons supermarket in San Dimas. Pompei had stopped into the Vons store to pick up dog food after dropping his fiancee off, the Los Angeles Times reported. Pompei was standing in the checkout line, when one of the two armed teenage suspects ordered everyone in the store to get down on the ground.
When a mentally-disabled employee didn't move fast enough, the robber pistol whipped him with his handgun.
That's when Pompei decided to intervene. Pompei, off-duty at the time and wearing street clothes, pulled out his gun and attempted to stop the robbery at around 8:30 p.m. In the gunfire, Pompei was shot multiple times by the two suspects. Although fatally injured in the shootout, Pompei was able to wound both suspects who later ran out of the store.
Pompei lived for about two hours after the shooting, even managing to run to a nearby phone booth to dial 911.
The two teeange suspects were later arrested at a hospital in West Covina where they were seeking treatment and sentenced to life in prison without parole, the maximum sentence possible for a minor.
Pompei, 30, had been with the Glendora Police Department for seven years and was survived by his fiancee, mother, three brothers, two sisters, nephews and nieces.
Every year on the anniversary of his death, a group gathers at a park next to the Vons were Pompei was killed to pay their respects. Castro remembers Pompei as a high-energy health nut who enjoyed making people laugh.
Even before Glendora Police had an official K-9 unit, Pompei's dog, Dios, was regular around the department.
"We were young officers at the time and we'd work the graveyard shift together," Castro remembers. "Sometimes he'd have Dios in his car, and if there was an arrest, I'd have to take the arrest warrant because he had the dog in his car."
In the years after Pompei's death, Castro said police training for officers went through many changes, including higher caliber guns and improved training methods.
"Before, officers practiced shooting on an immoveable target," said Castro. "Nowadays, we try to simulate real situations -- we put officers in a state of stress, they practice running and shooting at moving targets."
Last month's brought back haunting memories of what happened the fateful night 16 years ago.
"What happened at Ralphs involved officers who weren't even around when Louie was killed," said Castro. "But the outcome, thankfully, was very different."