NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Wednesday was an emotional day in the Elm City. Friends and family said their final goodbyes to a New Haven officer who died after spending more than a decade in a coma.
Officer Diane Gonzalez was born in New Haven on July 8, 1961. It did not take long for her to make a name for herself.
She became well-known for her de-escalation tactics. Fellow officers called her a matriarch.
“She was a guardian of the community and she also knew how to turn on that warrior aspect when needed. Her upbeat attitude and positive outlook on life brought smiles to her peers,” said Anthony Campbell, former New Haven police chief.
Gonzalez and Sergeant Dario Aponte crashed into each other while responding to a call in 2008. Aponte was killed in the crash. Gonzalez suffered a traumatic brain injury and passed away last week.
She was 60 years old.
Her funeral was held at Evergreen Cemetery. Police officers from across Connecticut rolled into the cemetery on their motorcycles, as family and friends gathered for the gravesite ceremony.
She was laid to rest with full line of duty honors.
“Right now, all I can say is my heart is full because I know she is looking down, smiling on us,” said Officer Stephanie Van Wilgen with the New Haven Police Department.
“She took care of people, she took care of the community, she took care of the officers, she took care of her family,” said New Haven’s Interim Police Chief Renee Dominguez. “She was just a wonderful human being.”
New Haven police made a promise to never forget her name and everything she stood for.
“And we never will. Today was a true testament,” said retired New Haven Police Lieutenant Rebecca Goddard. “I said this multiple times over the last week since she passed. She died a hero. It truly is the ultimate sacrifice.”
Gonzalez leaves behind her two daughters, her son and her grandchildren.