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Fallen San Bernardino deputy ‘was a big heart of a man’ who loved his job, community

By in Press Enterprise on January 4, 2018

By Brian Rokos

Larry Falce was a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy who enjoyed the still of the graveyard shift, where it was just him and the bad guys out on the streets while the good guys were all asleep.

If a fellow deputy wanted an honest, spare-no-feelings opinion of his performance, Falce was the go-to guy.

Falce loved serving San Bernardino, where his station was located, but shrugged off any accolades.

And as it turns out, Falce — who could seem gruff to those who didn’t know him — was a big ol’ softie, especially for kids and cats.

Falce took a child on a shopping spree Dec. 16 during a Shop With a Cop holiday event in Fontana. The boy’s mother, Yvette Vazquez, reached out to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association to praise Falce.

“He was so sweet to my boy,” the union said Vazquez wrote to them. “My son said he was great; very shy and reserved but he connected with my son. It was an awsome experience. We were blessed with the honor to have met this sweet man.”

And those half-dozen stray cats he pulled off the streets?

“He loved his animals so much that he gave them their own apartment,” said Sgt. James Mahan, a longtime patrol and search-and-rescue partner and even longer-time friend of Falce’s. He rented the one next to his own for them.

Falce, 70, died Tuesday, Jan. 2, two days after being assaulted after an off-duty traffic collision in San Bernardino. The other driver, Alonzo Leron Smith, 30, of San Bernardino, was charged with murder Wednesday.

“It’s disheartening,” Mahan said. “Here’s a person who didn’t deserve to go out like this. Because of someone who treats human life with such disrespect, our friend is no longer here.”

But it was with the utmost respect Tuesday night […]    

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