On July 17, 2002, San Fernando Police Officer Jesse Paderez came into the station around 6:45 a.m. to pick up a patrol car to take to training course on how to operate a radar unit. As he exited his personal car in the station parking lot he carried a lot of gear he would need for the day and dropped his weapon in its holster onto the pavement. In a freak accident, the hammer from his .45 caliber Sig P-220 struck the ground and the gun fired and a round hit him in the head. Responding officers who found him were initially at a loss to understand what happened. The ensuing investigation determined the tragic cause of his death.
Jesse Paderez, “Pudgy” to his close friends, joined the San Fernando Police Department in 1992, following the death of his older brother, Ernie, an LAPD officer, in an off duty traffic accident. A capable, well respected officer, he served on the department’s Special Response Team, their equivalent of a SWAT team.
Officer Paderez grew up as one of 13 siblings. One of his sisters, Geri Arriaga, retired from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as a deputy.
Jesse inspired his family in many ways. In 2008, his nephew, David Valdez, became an officer with the San Diego Police Department and he noted in a 2013 post on his uncle’s ODMP Reflections Page, “I remember with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes how highly everyone talked about you. So many people that you knew through work had so many incredible things to say about you. They loved you so much and felt like family. I wish Uncle Ernie and you had seen me become a police officer. I often wonder what advice you would have given me. Five years into this profession and I am humbled by how much there is to learn. I look forward to when I can share my cop stories with you.”
Officer Paderez, 46, was a ten-year veteran of the San Fernando PD. In addition to being survived by many of his siblings and his nephews and nieces, he also left behind his fiancée, Maria, two sons, Jesse and Joseph, daughter Evette, as well as three grandchildren.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, ODMP, CPOMF