December 6, 2018

For new kindergarten student Greggorio Casillas, the first day of school was missing something.

His father, Greggory, had been killed in the line of duty while working as an officer for the Pomona Police Department this past spring. Although his mother was there to send him off on his first day, there was still the knowledge that someone was missing.

Thanks to the department Casillas had worked for during his life, though, the 4-year-old new student didn’t have to walk in without the support of the blue behind him.

The officers gathered at Citrus Elementary school after following the young boy to school with a half-dozen motorcycles, lining up to help coax “Little Gregg” to walk into his new classroom with a smile.

“He said this morning while at home he wasn’t going to come to school,” Pomona police Chief Mike Olivieri said, via the Daily Bulletin. “But when he saw the (motorcycles) pull up with the lights, he was ready to go.”

The elder Gregg Casillas had been shot in the line of duty back in early March, when a suspect being pursued locked himself in his apartment and then opened fire.

Kindergarten can be hard enough for any kid to start. It’s a new environment, and for children who didn’t attend early education or daycare, it may be the first time they’re away from their parents for any prolonged period of time without a familiar babysitter or family member nearby.

For children who have recently lost a parent, explained Olivieri, that transition can be even more difficult.

The Pomona police wanted to make sure that big step wasn’t taken alone, though, and wanted to ensure that Little Gregg didn’t think that he lacked the support his father’s legacy left behind.

“We hope that when he gets older that he understands just how important the sacrifice his father made was for all of us, and he always knows he’ll be a part of our family.”