On the evening of June 25, veteran Los Angeles Police Department Detectives Abiel Barron and his long time partner Andy Teague were returning home after conducting an investigation and interviewing a witness in one of the many unsolved murder cases assigned to them.
In a remote, rural area of San Bernardino County, the police vehicle in which they were passengers was struck head-on by another vehicle attempting to pass a tractor trailer, crossing into the oncoming traffic lane and colliding with the police vehicle.
Detective Barron was killed instantly and pronounced dead at the scene. His partner, Detective Andy Teague was airlifted to the Loma Linda University Medical Facility suffering from massive injuries and remained in critical condition. The driver of the other vehicle, 50 year old Joe Albino Fernandez, who was also hospitalized with serious injuries, was being arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, after his attempted dangerous and unlawful passing of another vehicle resulted in the death of Detective Barron.
Detectives Barron and Teague, both 49 years old, had followed virtually identical career paths in the Los Angeles Police Department. As rookies, both had worked the “mean streets” of South Central Los Angeles. Upon being promoted into the rank of detective, they were assigned to work together on gang cases in both Newton Division and Northeast Division.
Colleagues, both inside and outside the Department that they both dearly loved, described both men as “outspoken, hard-nosed cops dedicated and talented”. Newton Division Homicide Detective Rich Arsenega, who was stunned by the news of the death of Barron, remembered him as a “hard-working cop who chose to work the toughest investigations in the toughest neighborhoods”. Arsenega recalled that Barron had a sharp wit, and after volunteering for an unusually tough assignment, he might ask “why are they always picking on me?”
Members of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Major Crimes Division, who prosecuted several of the gang related murder cases that Barron and Teague had investigated described both men as “true professionals and gentlemen”.
Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell, when informed of the tragedy, stated “It’s a major blow to the organization” and described both officers as “hard working, solid homicide detectives”. Commander Jim Tatreau said that Detective Abiel Barron was “a good cop, well liked by everyone”. There can be little doubt that this 19 year veteran police officer will be sorely missed by his colleagues, many friends, family and Los Angeles Police Department.
Memorial services were conducted on July 3 at the Sky Rose Chapel, Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier. In attendance were several hundred uniformed peace officers, countless marked police vehicles, dignitaries representing the State, County and City of Los Angeles, all joining in offering their condolences to the Barron family.
Detective Barron is survived by his wife Ann Marie and his teenage daughter Lauren.
A trust fund to benefit Mrs. Barron and Lauren, the “Abe Barron Blue Ribbon Trust Account” has been established. Contributions can be mailed to Officer Holly Capra, LAPD Employee Assistance Unit, 977 No. Broadway, Suite 409, Los Angeles, CA 90012.