It was the first football game that 13-year-old Joaquin played, but sadly, his father was not there. Joaquin’s father, Cpl. Jose “Speedy” Espericueta of Mission, Texas, was shot and killed in June.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, officers from across south Texas gathered to help their late colleague, Espericueta, complete his wish.

“The one thing he couldn’t stop talking about was Joaquin starting football this year,” Police Officer Javier Lara told CNN on Sunday, Sept. 22.

As such, they gathered at the Cathey Middle School in McAllen to watch Espericueta’s son, Joaquin, play in his first seventh-grade football game, where he was named an honorary captain.

“We made a promise to the family that we’re gonna be there for special events,” Lara said. “Being the first football game, we gathered agencies from across the valley to let him know that we’re still there, even though his dad’s not.”

During the past few months, dozens of officers had helped welcome Joaquin to his first day of school, while others helped his daughter move to San Antonio for her education.

“Everybody was willing to go ahead and come out,” Lara, who organized Saturday’s gathering for Joaquin’s football game, said, “Just to support him, just to let him know that we’re going to be there for the rest of his life.”

Joaquin, the team’s center, played well in a big win, Lara said.

“He was really excited. He was really thankful for us being here for him,” Lara said. “He has a huge heart. He’s going to be a good young man.”

Espericueta was killed in June while responding to a call for help from a woman who said her son had shot at her car. When Espericueta attempted to make contact with her son,  later identified as Juan Carlos Chapa Jr., Chapa began to run, he then turned around and shot Espericueta, police said.

Espericueta later died at the hospital. The Mission Police Department hadn’t lost an officer since December 1978, police said.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.