Beloved Alabama police officer, decorated Army veteran dies suddenly from COVID-19

Officer Juan Gomez (Pelham Police Department)

Law enforcement officials across Alabama are mourning the sudden loss of a beloved veteran officer of the Pelham Police Department from COVID-19.

Officer Juan Gomez, 39, was hospitalized on Aug. 6 after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He passed away Saturday.

"We are devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our friend," said Pelham Police Chief Pat Cheatwood. "He was an incredible police officer. He had a servant’s heart and would never hesitate to help someone in need. Juan loved this community and served honorably. He may be gone, but we will make sure he is never forgotten." 

Officer Gomez joined the police department after a distinguished Army career. He earned the Army Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and other commendations.

"Juan was devout in his faith, and I believe he would want us to receive comfort in scripture," Cheatwood said. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4) "

Secretary Hal Taylor with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency called Officer Gomes a "devoted public servant."

"On behalf of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Pelham Police Officer Juan Gomez," Sec. Taylor wrote in a statement Sunday. "We join the rest of the law enforcement community in mourning the loss of this true professional and devoted public servant. A dedicated law enforcement veteran, Officer Gomez’s courage, sacrifice, and devotion to his local community as well as to the entire State of Alabama is apparent by the overwhelming care and support already displayed by those he so faithfully served.

"Please keep Officer Gomez’s family, friends, and co-workers in your prayers as we all figure out how to live life without him," the department wrote on a Facebook post on Saturday.

Officer Gomez, an 11-year law enforcement veteran leaves behind a wife and two children.

Visitation services will be held Aug. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Shades Mountain Community Church and funeral services will be held the next day at Shades Mountain Community Church at 10 a.m. with a burial service at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo at 2 p.m.

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