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To honor a hero: Kuredjian’s legacy

Seventh anniversary of deputy’s death remembered

Posted: August 31, 2008 8:31 p.m.
Updated: November 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
Vehicle headlights turned on during the daytime marked the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's deputies seventh anniversary tribute to slain deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian Sunday.

Kuredjian was a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department who was killed by James Allen Beck outside Beck's Stevenson Ranch home as federal agents served a search warrant Aug. 31, 2001.

Kuredjian arrived at the Beck's Brooks Circle home between 8:30 and 8:55 a.m. on Aug. 31, 2001. Federal agents from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were serving a search warrant on suspicion that Beck was stock piling weapons. He was also suspected of impersonating a U. S. Marshall.

Beck kept law enforcement officers at bay with a bevy of shots fired from his home. Beck fired a total of 150 shots. Kuredjian crouched behind a red sports utility vehicle for safety as Beck sprayed the street with bullets. When Kuredjian stood up he was shot in the head, according to reports in The Signal.

"Jake was a real happy guy and funny - but he was all business when it came time to get it done," said Sgt. Steve Casaus of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's station.

Casaus and Kuredjian went to the gym and worked out together. He said Kuredjian spent much of his time away from work with his family or restoring cars. One of Kuredjian's favorite accomplishments was restoring his Porsche, Casaus said.

Sheriff's deputies rode with vehicle headlights turned on during daylight hours Sunday to note the seventh anniversary of the Kuredjian's slaying. Deputies also wore their class A uniforms with black ties and black bands over their badges in memory of Kuredjian. Wearing long sleeve shirts in August is enough of a challenge, deputy Tony Hawkins said, but broken air conditioning unit in the station added to the struggle.

"It was a sacrifice, but it was worth it," Hawkins said.

The slaying shocked the Santa Clarita Valley and the community mourned for days. Flowers, cards, teddy bears and balloons streamed into the sheriff's station.

Kuredjian was laid to rest on Sept. 5, 2001. More than 5,000 people attended the funeral services including then Governor Gray Davis and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

Davis offered his condolences to Kuredjian's family and handed them a folded American flag.
Baca choked back tears as he spoke about Kuredjian's bravery and service.

"We recognized Jake today, because he is still in our hearts and minds," Hawkins said.

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