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Funeral set for Hawthorne police officer killed in motorcycle collision

May 30, 2011 | 10:33 am

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department pay their respects.

Andrew Garton A Hawthorne police officer who was killed when the motorcycle he was riding collided with another officer's motorcycle during a funeral escort will be laid to rest in Cypress on Friday, officials said.

Andrew Garton, 44, a married father of two boys, became the first officer to lose his life in the line of duty in the 89-year history of the small South Bay department when he was killed during the funeral escort last Friday for Manhattan Beach Officer Mark Vasquez, who died after a long battle with cancer.

There will be a viewing for Garton at Seacoast Grace Church, 5100 Cerritos Avenue, in Cypress from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and a memorial service on Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the same location, officials said. Burial will follow at Forest Lawn in Cypress, police said.

Garton died at Harbor UCLA Medical Center after his motorcycle struck  El Segundo Police Sgt. Rex Fowler's bike. Fowler suffered a broken leg in the collision, which is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

"Andrew was doing what he was known for: putting the needs of others ahead of his own," Eric Motley, Garton's cousin, said at a Saturday news conference. "Andrew volunteered to ride for a funeral procession to show support for the family of a fallen officer."

Garton, a seven-year department veteran, spent 4 1/2 years working as motorcycle officer and was also a longtime member of the SWAT team. Flags at the department were at half-staff following Friday's collision. 

Garton "was an excellent officer and very hardworking," Hawthorne Mayor Larry Guidi said. "This is a tragedy, but it will bring us all closer together. You kiss your family goodbye in the morning, and you never know what will happen."

The Hawthorne Police Department has set up a trust fund to help Garton's family. Checks should be made out to Officer Andrew Garton Family c/p HPOA. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to:  Hawthorne Police Department, 12501 S. Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250


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Upper photo: Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, as well as Brian Escobar, kneeling, pay their respects to Hawthorne Police Officer Andrew Garton at a memorial site inside the Hawthorne Police Department on May 27. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Andrew Garton. Credit: Hawthorne Police Department / Associated Press