Smith County Sheriff’s Deputy Lorenzo Bustos, 29, died on his last training shift when an alleged drunk driver struck him in May of 2023. The driver was traveling at a “very moderate to fast speed” when it hit Bustos, who was standing a few feet behind the patrol vehicle at the time.
Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said, “He had become to be very loved by all of his cohorts and co-workers. He was doing a great job.” Smith added that Bustos, who would have been able to go out on his own had he made it through the final training shift, has left behind a wife and three young children.
Smith added that the surviving family members were given a check for a “substantial amount of money” to help them make it, with numerous departments and agencies pitching in to help out.
Sgt. Larry Christian, the office’s public information officer, said, ”Please keep Deputy Bustos’ family in your thoughts and prayers as well as his extended Blue family. Also, keep Deputy Skinner in your thoughts and prayers. No words can express the outpouring of love and kindness expressed by the citizens of our county, state and nation.”
The Henderson Police Department made a similar statement, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our brothers … The officers at Henderson Police Department are in mourning and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends at their darkest and hardest time. Deputy Bustos will forever hold a special place at Henderson Police Department.”
Then the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, which would founded in memory of New York firefighter Stephen Gerard Siller, helped Bustos’ family by paying off the mortgage on their home. Siller was a firefighter who was just off his shift when the first plane hit on 9/11 but rushed back to get his gear and help out. He then tried driving through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it was closed, so he made his way to the towers with sixty pounds of gear and gave his life while trying to save others.
The Tunnels to Towers Foundation’s Fallen First Responder Home Program has so far paid off more than 1,000 mortgages belonging to “families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty, pass away from 9/11-related illnesses, and leave behind young children.”
Gloria, the wife of Bustos, said, “It is difficult for me to fully express the impact your organization has had on my family. When Tunnel to Towers contacted me and told me they would be paying off my mortgage, I felt an immediate sense of relief. Knowing the kids and I would never have to worry about where we live, knowing I would not have to struggle to pay the mortgage, is an amazing gift. I would like to sincerely thank Tunnel to Towers for their generosity and kindness in this very difficult time.”
Governor Abbot, in a letter, said, “The first lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the Bustos family during their time of grief, and we urge all Texans to remember and honor Deputy Bustos’ service as a brave and dedicated law enforcement officer.”
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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