A packed and somber assembly at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels witnessed the March 13 funeral Mass of fallen LAPD Officer Nicholas Choung Lee.
The assembly included hundreds of fellow officers plus civic officials — among them, Gov. Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Archbishop José Gomez presided at the Mass, while Father Edward Dover, pastor of Holy Redeemer Church in Montrose — which Lee’s family attends — delivered the homily.
Many praised Officer Lee — a husband and father — as a devoted family man and a man of great love. “We mourn a great man here today,” said Garcetti.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck called Lee “the best of us,” and declared that “heroes never die — they live forever in the hearts of their brothers and sisters.”
Lee died March 7 while on duty when a truck hauling a trash container crashed into the patrol car carrying Lee and another officer at Loma Vista Drive and Robert Lane in Beverly Hills, close to its border with L.A. City. Lee died at the scene; the other officer was treated and released the next day. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Lee, 40, was a 16-year LAPD veteran with numerous commendations. He grew up in Koreatown after his family immigrated from Korea to the U.S. when he was 6 years old. He graduated University High School and Cal State Fullerton, and most recently was assigned to LAPD’s Hollywood Division.
A rosary service was celebrated March 12 at St. Basil Church in Koreatown. Lee is survived by his wife Cathy, two daughters (ages 13 and 6), his parents and a younger brother.
A memorial fund has been set up for Lee’s family. Donations can be made to Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union/Attention: Nicholas Lee/Blue Ribbon Fund, P.O. Box 10188, Van Nuys, CA, 91410.