Over 20 years after Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian was killed in Stevenson Ranch in the line of duty, his former colleagues and family continued to keep his memory alive on Wednesday.
Near the location of where he was shot and killed, on the corner of Stevenson Ranch and Poe parkways, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station held a memorial for Kuredjian Wednesday morning.
The ceremony, complete with bagpipes, a helicopter flyover and a few dozen local deputies — some of whom would’ve been too young at the time lo even remember the Aug. 31, 2001 shooting — is an annual tradition and is a way to remember a first responder who gave his life in service to his community.
“We continue to come out because we’re grateful that the sheriff’s office and the residents of Santa Clarita will continue to take the time out of their schedule to remember my brother and honor his memory,” said Garo Kuredjian, who now serves as the captain for the Fillmore Sheriff’s Station with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. “I think overall, to law enforcement, in this community, (the annual ceremony) reinforces the fact that they’re there, they matter and that they’re appreciated.”
“This is one of the most supportive communities in L.A. County as it relates to law enforcement, and it is important for the deputies to know that they matter and that they’re appreciated for their efforts.”
During the ceremony, Capt. Justin Diez highlighted this same message, and invited the Kuredjian family to the new SCV Sheriff’s Station, where “Deputy Jake” is immortalized in a handful of locations.
“Deputy Kuredjian tragically lost his life after responding to assist federal agents who were attempting to serve a warrant for a suspect responsible for impersonating a police officer and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon,” Deputy Natalie Arriaga, spokeswoman for the station, wrote in an email.
On Aug. 31, 2001, when officers arrived at the residence in Stevenson Ranch, the suspect responded with gunfire, striking and killing Kuredjian during the shootout.
Kuredjian had served with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for 17 years. Annually, the SCV Sheriff’s Station remembers and honors Kuredjian by standing watch at his memorial, fully dressed in Class A uniform with tie, added Arriaga.
The ceremony was bookended by deputies standing guard at Kuredjian’s memorial in Stevenson Ranch, with deputies standing at attention fully dressed in Class A uniform with tie for a total of 24 hours.