Numerous officers, friends and citizens of Pomona lit candles and shed tears during a candlelight vigil as they paid tribute to Officer Daniel T. Fraembs at the spot where he was shot and killed early Saturday, May 11, 1996.
Officers wore black bands across their badges, and the two-hour memorial ceremony was awash with tears and optimism as colleagues spoke about the man they knew as a model police officer.
“Your presence graces us with an honor that helps ease our pain,” said Pomona police Capt. Joe Romero, whose voice trembled when he spoke to the audience of the slain 37-year-old officer. “l had the honor of being Dan’s captain and brother officer.”
Fraembs’ mother, Dorothy, and sister, Darah, were flown in from their Cincinnati home to attend the solemn ceremony and Daniel Fraembs’ funeral, which was held Friday, May 17.
Known as one of the Pomona officers most well-informed on Asian gangs, Fraembs was shot to death early Saturday near an abandoned incinerator plant. He was the first policeman in the 108-year history of the Pomona Police Department to be gunned down in the line-of-duty. He never pulled his gun out of its holster.
Following an extensive search and tips from unidentified sources, a suspect, 22-year-old Ronald Bruce Mendoza, was arrested in Kingman, Arizona on May 22. Pomona Police chief Rick Shaurette stated “We’re very confident we have the right man. We have a witness.” Mendoza is a member of the Mexican Mafia of the Happy Town gang.
People who didn’t know Fraembs laid either flowers or white candles near patrol car 34 – the car he drove that night – which was parked at the spot where his body was found. An enlarged picture of Fraembs stood over the display, adorned with a wreath and white and purple roses.
Draped over the hood of the patrol car was a silk flag that depicted a police badge with a black band across it.
Fraembs was born in Hong Kong. He was found orphaned on a beach by a Hong Kong policeman, who turned him over to an orphanage.
At nine months of age, Dan was adopted by Donald and Dorothy Fraembs of Cincinnati, Ohio. In August 1963, Fraembs became a citizen.of the United States. He graduated from Forest Park High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1977.
In the fall of that year, he enrolled in the University of Cincinnati. He completed his college education at Fullerton Community College.
In 1981, Fraembs joined the Untied States Marine Corps, where he excelled. He earned numerous declarations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign ribbons while in the service. He had obtained the rank of sergeant prior to receiving his honorable discharge in 1985.
In September 1988, he was appointed to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked for five years before joining the Pomona Police Department.
Fraembs is survived by his mother, Dorothy Fraembs, and a sister, Darah Fraembs, both of Cincinnati, Ohio.
A memorial fund has been established in Fraembs’ honor. Checks may be made payable to: Officer Daniel Fraembs Memorial Fund, PPOA, 319 So. Park Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766.