- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2005

DENVER — More than 1,000 mourners paid tribute to slain police Detective Donald Young yesterday as Los Angeles and Denver officers continued a manhunt for the suspect in the killing.

Archbishop Charles Chaput led the Mass for the 12-year detective as an overflow crowd of hundreds gathered outside the downtown Denver cathedral to watch the services on large-screen televisions.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper headed the list of dignitaries who attended the Mass. Police officers from Denver and other jurisdictions, wearing black tape across their badges, led the funeral procession to Fort Logan National Cemetery.

“Officer Young was much loved,” said Archbishop Chaput. “We have freedom and life because of men and women like Detective Young, who submit themselves every day to standing on the wall in the way of things that would hurt us.”

Detective Young, 44, died after he and another officer were shot in the back early Sunday while providing off-duty security at a baptismal party. Police say Raul Garcia-Gomez ambushed the officers after they refused to let him re-enter the party, although they refused to comment on what led to the dispute.

The other officer, Detective John Bishop, was wearing a bulletproof vest and survived a gunshot to the back.

Garcia-Gomez, 19, an illegal alien from Mexico, is believed to have fled to Los Angeles, where he has relatives. His car was found abandoned there behind a house Wednesday.

Los Angeles and Denver police have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect. About 200 Los Angeles officers, working with Denver police, are conducting a dragnet of the area.

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman said the suspect may have fled to Mexico, which could present problems for investigators because the country has a policy of refusing to extradite citizens if they would face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican, said about 4,000 suspected murderers from the border states and California have escaped U.S. prosecution by fleeing to Mexico.

Garcia-Gomez had lived in Denver for less than a year, during which he received three traffic citations for driving without a license and insurance. He worked at Cherry Cricket restaurant as a dishwasher and had provided two false forms of identification, including a fake Social Security number.

The Cherry Cricket is co-owned by Mr. Hickenlooper, although he put his business holdings in a blind trust after assuming office in July 2003. He said he never had any contact with Garcia-Gomez.

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