LAPD officer killed in training accident laid to rest

Hundreds gathered Wednesday under a blazing morning sun to commemorate LAPD officer Houston Tipping, a five-year department veteran who suffered a fatal spinal injury on May 26 during a training exercise at Elysian Park Academy. He died three days later at the age of 32.

The funeral began with a bagpipe procession at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills after mourners – from relatives and colleagues in their starched black uniforms to political luminaries like Mayor Eric Garcetti and State Atty. General Rob Bonta – settled into their seats. Speaker after speaker remembered Tipping as a dedicated officer who was drawn to the police force out of a desire to help others — and was quickly drawn to the bonds he formed with other officers.

Tipping’s father Richard told the mourners that “Houston was kind by nature, he cared about people in general,” adding that it comforts him to hear his son’s colleagues talk about how he always treated everyone with dignity . Once, after escorting a suspected drunk driver back to the police station, he waited around and patiently talked the woman through the booking process.

“She had to face the consequences, but so did he [tried] to make sure she experiences the humanity of an officer,” said Richard Tipping, his hands shaking as he turned the pages of his prepared statement.

His aunt Cheryl Coons recalled how her nephew first announced that he wanted to go into public service while attending a fire department graduation with his mother, Coons’ sister. But when his mother asked him if he wanted to be a firefighter, he scoffed and replied no, he wanted to be a police officer. The crowd giggled.

“Houston loved being a cop, he loved the brotherhood, he loved the camaraderie,” Coons said.

Officials have revealed little about the circumstances leading up to Tipping’s death following a training scenario in which he was feuding with a colleague when he fell to the ground and sustained a catastrophic injury to his spinal cord. LAPD chief Michel Moore previously promised the department would investigate the incident; It is not clear where this probe is located.

Tipp was taken to LA County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights, where he died on the morning of May 29.

Born in Southern California, Tipping moved north to Chico, near where his mother grew up. Never losing his love of space or nature, he filled his days off with hunting, fishing and hiking. He joined LAPD in late 2017 after working for his father’s company for several years in his 20s.

After a brief stint in the Foothills Division outside the Academy, Tipping was posted as a Patrol Officer in the Devonshire Division covering Northridge, Reseda, Chatsworth and other parts of the northern San Fernando Valley.

Although Tipping was older than most recruits when he joined the force, he had impressed his peers with a “willingness to go the extra mile to make the world a better place,” Moore said, noting that he felt himself approaching a career milestone before his death: he was to receive his first hash mark, a badge signifying every five years of service. “We will miss him, but never forget him.”

Tipping, he said, was the 238th LAPD officer to die in the line of duty in the department’s history, a tally that includes officers like him who died in training accidents.

Garcetti, whose term ends in December, urged mourners not to lose hope, drawing an analogy with the biblical account of Adam and Eve feeling fear and uncertainty on their first night on earth — unaware that the sun was falling would rise again the next day .

“It may feel like the sun has gone down for this family,” Garcetti told the mourners. “I must say on behalf of 4 million grateful Angelenos that the day is coming.”

As it began to rain lightly, Moore knelt in front of Tipping’s parents and presented them with a folded American flag.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-22/lapd-officer-killed-in-catastrophic-training-accident-laid-to-rest LAPD officer killed in training accident laid to rest

Alley Einstein

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