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News Release

Thursday, September 21, 2000

Media Relations

Funeral Services for Officer Robert Mata

On September 19, 2000 at approximately 2:30 a.m., Police Officer II Robert Joe Mata, #32571, was killed in a traffic collision while responding to a back-up radio call. Officer Mata leaves behind his wife, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Holly Mata, and his daughters, Kalei and Pi-ilani.

The services for Officer Mata are as follows:

Sunday, September 24, 2000 8:00 P.M.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
1835 Larkvane Road
Rowland Heights, CA

Monday, September 25, 2000 10:00 A.M.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church
1835 Larkvane Road
Rowland Heights, CA

Rose Hills Memorial Park
3888 South Workman Mill Road
Whittier, CA

Donations may be made to the family of Officer Mata, through the Robert Mata Blue Ribbon Trust, C/O Harbor Area, 2175 South John S. Gibson Boulevard, San Pedro, CA. 90731. Additionally, tax-deductible donations in the name of Robert Mata, may be made to:

The Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation
1880 North Academy Road
Los Angeles, CA. 90012

Attached, is a biography of Officer Robert Mata.

This press release has been prepared by Public Information Officer Charlotte Broughton, Media Relations Section 213-485-3586.

Police Officer Robert Joe Mata

Robert Joe Mata was born on October 10, 1973 in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Etiwanda High School in June of 1991. In November of 1992, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving on the destroyer U.S.S. Fletcher (DD-992). In his service to our country, Robert was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (First Award), and the Southwest Asia Service Medal. The latter medal was awarded to those naval personnel who patrolled the area near Iraq, during the months after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Upon his discharge from the Navy, Robert settled in Hawaii, where he met and married his wife, Holly. Homesick for Los Angeles, Robert and Holly moved to Whittier, California. Holly and Robert had two daughters; five year-old Kaleikaumaka ("Kalei," whose name translates from Hawaiian as, 'Beloved child, looked on with love and pride') and two year-old Pi-ilani ('Climb to heaven').

Robert entered the Los Angeles Police Academy on January 22, 1996. He served his probationary time in Newton Area, where one daily rating complimented his handling of a 15 year-old potential runaway. Robert convinced the troubled teen to stay home and seek help to work through his troubles with his parent. Passing his probation, he moved on to Southeast Area. Robert's final division of assignment was Harbor Area, where he was assigned to the Specialized Enforcement Unit, Gang Detail.

Holly Mata shared with us a few comments about Robert's devotion to his work: one is that after an injury in 1999, Robert delayed a needed surgery so that he could be working in the field on New Year's Eve, 1999; because of the Y2K concerns. When he finally had his surgery in the spring of 2000, Robert engaged himself in activities that would expedite his recovery, because he wanted to be back to work for the Democratic National Convention deployment.

Holly described Robert as an officer who had the respect of many gang members, because they perceived him as fair.

The day before he died, Robert Mata was able to see his wife, Holly, work her first day as a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy, assigned to the Twin Towers Jail. He also was a part of his daughter's (Kalei's) fifth birthday celebration.

A funeral mass will be held for Officer Mata in Rowland Heights, at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church on Monday, September 25, 2000 at 10:00 am. The graveside ceremony with police honors will take place afterwards at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.