Friday memorial service to honor 10-year anniversary of fallen Odessa officers

Friday memorial service to honor 10-year anniversary of fallen Odessa officers

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - It's hard to believe it's been almost 10 years since the deadliest police ambush happened in Odessa. This Friday marks the anniversary of the 3 fallen officers.

You might remember this, the 3 corporals were responding to a domestic violence call on a weekend when they were shot. Two died on the scene, the third passed away in a Lubbock hospital days later.

10 years ago, the small but busy Odessa Police Department (OPD) had to idea the heartbreak they would face Sept. 8, 2007.

17-year-veteran of the department, Detective Roy Celaya was off that day, he saw a breaking news report saying multiple officers were hurt. In denial, he called dispatch.

"So I called the front desk and spoke to now Lt. Samson and he told me it was a bad deal. Two officers are down, most likely dead, killed on the spot ambush style," said Celaya.

Cpl. Arlie Jones and Cpl. Scott Gardner were the officers laying on the ground dead, as their brothers in blue tried to end a 3-hour standoff stemming from a domestic violence attack. A third officer, Cpl. Abel Marquez was also shot, he fought for his life before dying 4 days later.

"I keep thinking, every interview I do, I'm not going to cry, but it does, it tugs at my heart," said Celaya as he fought back tears. "I think that's why 10 years have passed and I never did anything with it because of that. Cops don't cry, they're not supposed to but I've seen several of us and some guys have handled it better but in their private lives. Every time I talk about it, the memories start rolling and I truly hope that their families know what kind of men they raised."

Celaya went to the police academy with Marquez, was mentored by Jones and bonded over hunting with Gardner. Memorials and sharing stories are how Celaya hopes the community will make sure the three corporals are remembered forever.

"Once I leave this department, I'll still be thinking about it," said Celaya. "What could've been, why was it and I'll still be spinning that in the back of my head. Why, why, why did this happen."

The memorial service is this Friday, everyone is welcome. It'll be outside OPD at 3 p.m. Friends and family of the fallen will be there along with law enforcement across Texas.

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