Sadness is felt throughout South Pasadena and beyond its borders following the announcement that Police Assistant Bayron Salguero died last Saturday due to complications related to COVID-19.
According to the South Pasadena Police Department, Salguero, 30, recently completed dispatch training and was scheduled to begin a new shift this week.
“Though he was with us for only a short time, he quickly became a part of our family,” said the SPPD in a statement on Facebook. “He had a great attitude and was admired by everyone for his work ethic and willingness to learn.”
South Pasadena Deputy Chief Brian Solinsky added that Salguero “made a lasting impression on all that met him. He was a consummate professional who had a bright career ahead of him. Bayron was a man who deeply cared about his family and always brought a joyful smile wherever he went. He will be deeply missed.”
South Pasadena Mayor Diana Mahmud was stunned after learning that the coronavirus had taken Salguero’s life. “It’s always sad to lose someone but the loss hits especially hard in a small city such as ours, with around 150 full-time employees,” she said. “And with their unusual work hours and stresses, employees in our police department are especially close, considering one another family. It’s incredibly tragic that COVID should take the life of someone so young, with so much ahead of him. Our hearts go out to his family as they mourn the passing of their son and brother.”
Although Michael Cacciotti never met him, South Pasadena’s mayor pro tem said Salguero’s “reputation among our city family indicated he was loved by many,” he said. “He was a model member of the law enforcement community – dedicated in his mission to serve and protect our community with a dedicated, unselfish character and always cheerful attitude. May God welcome him into the Promised Land.”
Salguero’s passing comes as Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, supervisor to the first district, confirmed the first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom (U.K).
“The reality is that the risk of contracting COVID-19 has increased with the presence of B.1.1.7 here in our community,” said Solis. “This more contagious variant makes it easier for COVID-19 to spread – any activity outside of one’s household carries more risk of exposure now than ever before.”
On Sunday night, Javier Alvarado set up a GoFundMe page for Salguero, his future brother-in-law, to help cover medical and funeral expenses. “He was the kindest person you could have ever imagined being around,” Alvarado told CBS News Los Angeles. “His ability to make people smile and bring joy to every person he met is the type of quality that is rare and pure. He was the type of person that would do anything to brighten up anyone’s day and do his best to help anyone in need.”
Salguero, according to Alvarado, was diagnosed about six years ago with systemic capillary leak syndrome. The rare disorder is characterized by repeated flares of massive leakage of plasma from blood vessels, causing a sharp drop in blood pressure. Alvarado said the condition nearly took Salguero’s legs, putting him in the high-risk group for COVID-19.
To date, more than 1-million confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Los Angeles County. “This number is almost too astronomical to comprehend,” continued Solis. “One million families have coped with this illness. Some are lucky enough to survive without long-term effects. But the more we learn about this virus, and its variants, the more we see that its effects do not end after the first day or week.”
Salguero is survived by his parents and two sisters.