Monday, June 24, 2024

Retired San Gabriel cop injured in Monterey Park mass shooting called one of the best

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One of those injured in the crowd during the Monterey Park mass shooting was James Goodman, a retired San Gabriel police lieutenant who served that city for nearly 30 years.

On Tuesday, San Gabriel police visited Goodman at the hospital where he’s receiving treatment for gunshot wounds to the foot and shoulder, said interim San Gabriel Police Chief chief Riki Nakamura. Even amid his “significant” injuries, Nakamura said, Goodman was in “great spirits,” adding that he is expected to recover and will likely require some physical therapy.

Nakamura said Goodman was injured when he stepped in to protect others in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio Saturday night.

“He did some heroic acts,” Nakamura said. “He got shot trying to save another person’s life.”

A Washington Post story described how Goodman instinctively pulled his dance partner down and shielded her from the spray of gunshots piercing a line dance.

“He’s my hero,” Hattie Peng told the Post. “Jim protected me.”

Nakamura described Goodman’s career with the department as long and illustrious, with a tenure that began long before he or most others in the department were hired.

Tuesday’s meeting at the hospital was Nakamura’s first time ever meeting Goodman, he said, adding that only two current members of the department had worked directly with Goodman, who retired in 1997.

Goodman began his career in San Gabriel nearly five decades ago as a reserve officer in the 1960s, Nakamura said. Over the next three decades, Goodman steadily advanced through the ranks and concluded his career as a lieutenant working homicide cases.

He spent his entire law enforcement career in San Gabriel, where he also raised two children — one of whom worked at the Pasadena Police Department and recently became chief in Arizona’s Maricopa County, Nakamura said. And although almost 26 years have passed since Goodman’s retirement, he is still remembered for his success.

“He was a distinguished investigator — one of the best investigators we had ever had,” Nakamura said.

Goodman was especially known for his meticulous, in-depth investigative skills and his keen ability to do crime scene sketches. He solved several homicide cases — too many for Nakamura to list and was “depended on” by police chiefs in decades past.

The department is planning to honor Goodman for his heroism during the shooting once he’s had time to heal, Nakamura added.

In his later years, Nakamura said Goodman was “passionate” about dancing and taught at both the  Star Ballroom and the Lai Lai studio in Alhambra, where a second attack by Saturday’s gunman was thwarted.

But even after years out of law enforcement, he never lost his skills, Nakamura said.

“He still has that police mentality, even though he’s been retired for many years,” Nakamura said. “That’s what kicked in — the instinct is still there with him.”

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