End of Watch

A video of Gardena Police Officer Toshio Hirai is shown at his memorial service on Friday at Green Hills in Rancho Palos Verdes.


RANCHO PALOS VERDES — Gardena Police Officer Toshio Hirai, 34, was laid to rest last Friday following an emotional memorial service held outdoors at Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Gardena city buses shuttled mourners from the police headquarters to the cemetery, where a giant American flag was held aloft between two Fire Department ladder trucks.

“I’m going to miss you, Toshio,” said Gardena Police Chief Thomas Kang. “Your contagious smile, your wonderful laughter. You gave your mind, body, and soul to all of us.”

The chief recalled their first meeting, when Hirai asked to join Kang on a ride-along.

“He was thinking about becoming a police officer. He wanted to make a difference in this world that we live in.”

Hirai was en route to work about 7:50 a.m. on Nov. 14 when he collided with a vehicle at Western Avenue and 238th Street in Harbor City. He died the following day, leaving behind a wife and 2-year-old son.