Community Run Honors GRPD Officer

Velia Moncada

Gila River Indian News


On June 2, Running 4 Heroes, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for fallen first responders, announced that one of their youth runners, 13-year-old Morgan Blann from New Jersey, would run one mile on June 5 in honor of fallen Gila River Police Department (GRPD) Officer Joshua Briese, who was killed in the line of duty on June 1.


While Morgan ran at 8 p.m. EDT, the Gila River Police Department held their run in solidarity with Blann that evening in Sacaton, inviting the Community to run or walk from the new GRPD police station to the Governance Center and back.


Hundreds of Community members and supporters arrived at the newly built GRPD station at 6 p.m. dressed in running clothes, ready to honor the lost young officer. Visitors brought pictures, flowers, notes, and wreaths in remembrance of the fallen 23-year-old police officer.


“We are morning our loss of Officer Briese, and then our other officer that’s recovering in the hospital still,” said Chief Jesse Crabtree. “We thought that this might be a good opportunity for the Community to come out and

show support for the victims.”


Community leadership attended, including Lt. Gov. Regina Antone and Community Council Representatives.


“I’m personally touched by the outpour [of support] of the surrounding areas coming in and helping us out,” said Lt. Gov. Antone in an interview with Gila River Broadcasting Inc.


Lt. Gov. Antone thanked surrounding cities and their first responders for assisting GRPD after Officer Briese’s death. She also acknowledged the Community’s gestures to recognize GRPD during this challenging period for the department.


“I just like us all to remember… Everybody wants to go home at night and we need to be thankful for that, and thank the people who help us to get home,” concluded Lt. Gov. Antone at the end of her interview.


As the sun set, the memorial run/walk finished in the evening, with the District 5 Elders gifting Chief Crabtree a memorial wreath and a prayer song by former Lt. Gov. Robert Stone.


As the run in Sacaton commenced, Blann, running in New Jersey, shared her thoughts in a Facebook video called “Mile 1,764 Honoring fallen Gila River Police Department Officer Joshua Briese (AZ) with a 1-mile run carrying the Blue Line Flag” under the Running 4 Heroes Inc page.


“I am truly sad that he lost his life and I know that he is deeply missed within his family and his community; Yet, he will never be forgotten for all the amazing things he has done and for all the sacrifices that he has made to keep his community safe and protected,” Blann said.