PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Friends, family, and the community gathered Thursday morning to honor the life of Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New, who was killed in a car crash not long after starting his late-night shift on May 31. 

End of Watch: Officer Ginarro New

“Like so many of those who wear the uniform, Ginarro proved that he had a servant’s heart,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said. “We are blessed as an agency that he chose us. … By all accounts, he was on his way to a very successful career.”

“On the night of May 31, Ginarro did what officers do every day,” Williams continued, her voice breaking. “He faced uncertainty and danger, but without hesitation. He fully embraced the risks that are inherent to this profession and remained dedicated to the Phoenix Police Department’s mission of keeping our community safe. … While we may say goodbye to Ginarro today, this will not be the last day that we honor his service to our community. … We will never let Ginarro’s memory fade.”

From all of the stories that have been told since New's death, it's clear that he was held in high esteem by all who knew him.

“If you look around this room as see the faces of grief and loss, I hope you see the beauty in how Ginarro means so much to so many people,” Sgt. Dan Tomko, who is part of New’s squad, told the family during Thursday's service.

A first meeting

Officer Thomas McKee, his field training officer, recalled the first time he met New. “As I was walking out of the locker room to meet Gino, I saw him in the hallway, and I came up to him and, of course, I tried to be funny,” he said. “I’m like, ‘You must be the “New” officer.’ And he quickly responded, ‘Yes, but after the academy, I am used.’ I had to pause and laugh because it took off guard,” he continued with a chuckle.

"I would relive the time I had with him a thousand times over."

“Ginarro was truly special,” Kristen, his widow, said, fighting back tears. “He wasn’t just special because he wanted to be a cop. He wasn’t just special because he had this magnetic personality. He was truly special because when he gave, he gave from the bottom of his heart, and he wanted nothing in return for it.”

“Marriage with Ginarro was easy,” she continued, explaining that she and New met when they were young. “I got spend every single day with my best friend. And we got to make so many memories together and make so many plans for the future. That is the fun of being young, but young and married to your best friend – anything was possible.”

Kristen said she and her husband had discussed his becoming a police officer. “I knew the risk. … I knew what came along with that territory – including today,” she said. “I told him, ‘As long as you are happy, as long as you love what you do, I will go on any adventure with you.’” She said her favorite memories are of seeing him in the morning and listening to him talk about his shift and what he wanted to do next at the Department.

“There is no reason for this. Not everything happens for a reason, but I think there is a lesson,” Krsiten said. “I hope that this is a lesson that you all will take from this tragedy. It is that life is short. Yes, we know it, but do you feel it? Are there things you’re putting off? Are there people that you haven’t told that you love? That was one of the great things about Ginarro is he always told you how much he loved you. And if he didn’t tell you, you knew it because of his kind heart. So, let the less be that if you’re waiting to do something, don’t. If you’re waiting to tell someone you love them, don’t. If there’s a petty argument you can’t let go, let it go. It’s not worth it.”

“It feels unfair that we didn’t get to do so many things we wanted to do,” she continued. “But I would relive the time I had with him a thousand times over because he was my soulmate. He was my best friend. … We were ready for whatever adventure we were gonna take each other on.”

End of watch

On May 31, a car driven by Christopher Castro sped through a red light and slammed into New's police vehicle at Cave Creek Road and Greenway Parkway. Investigators believe Castro might have been impaired. New, 27, is survived by his wife, Kristen; his mother, Misty; his brother, Marcas; and his grandmother, Susan.

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New grew up in Coolidge and served as a Marine before joining the Phoenix Police Department in 2019 as a patrol officer in the Black Mountain Precinct.

"Officer New was someone who was very funny," Officer Raul Saenz said. "He always made us laugh. He had jokes about everything -- super witty. We just talked about life. We would talk about calls."

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The Phoenix Police Foundation is still accepting donations, 100% of which will go to New's family.

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