DANVILLE (KPIX 5) — Family and friends of an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy who died from coronavirus complications less than 24 hours ago on Friday were remembering the law enforcement officer as a remarkable individual.
The department confirmed that 57-year-old Senior Deputy Oscar Rocha died just before 7 p.m. Thursday evening after being removed from life support at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
Friends described him as a man of integrity, honor and loyalty. His wife Maureen Ennor Rocha was at his side.
“I got to sit with him a little bit longer and then…when they took everything out,” remembered Rocha. “I went in and sat with him and I put his badge in his hand, so that he could die with is badge in is hand.”
It remains unclear at the moment where Rocha got the virus. The Alameda County Sheriff said he consider him to have died in the line of duty.
“He absolutely loved working here at the Alameda County Sheriff’s office. He loved this job,” said Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern.
Front line workers, including law enforcement, are especially at risk for the virus. Already 40 Alameda Sheriff’s Deputies have tested positive.
Sgt. Ray Kelly was an academy classmate with Rocha.
“I have seen a lot in my career, as you know, but COVID-19 is no joke,” said Kelly.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers from all over the Bay Area escorted Oscar and his family from John Muir Hospital across county lines back to Alameda County.
The flag-draped coffin received honors as they arrived at the county coroner’s office where it will remain until funeral services are organized.
Deputy Rocha’s wife is still trying to cope.
“It just doesn’t seem like anything is real. It doesn’t, you know…I have a long road ahead,” she said. “Just have to take it day by day to get through what we’re going through right now.”