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Frio County law enforcement officers are mourning the loss of one of their own, Corporal Detective Justin Michael Longoria, who lost his life in a car crash last weekend.
The 24-year-old corporal detective was on his way to work during the early hours of Sunday, April 11, when his pickup truck collided with a freight trailer near the Pearsall exit on IH-35.
According to a report on the case, the deputy was airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Longoria was a 2015 graduate of Brennan High School and attended the San Antonio Police Academy.
“He chose a career in law enforcement to be like his big brother, Josh,” Longoria’s mother Ruby said. “He admired how much Josh respected and loved his line of work.”
Fresh out of the police academy in 2017, Longoria worked as a patrol officer for the city of Dilley but sought advancement in the ranks. He was hired as a deputy with the Frio County Sheriff’s Office and earned a number of promotions. Within a year, he had advanced to corporal detective.
“Of the many great young men and women serving this community was Justin Longoria, who always shone brightest to me,” Chief Deputy Peter Salinas said. “I believe that he was on a path to greatness as a truly selfless young peace officer. His loss is a loss to this entire community for the untold number of great things that could have been and the many people who could have been affected in a positive way by Justin.”
Salinas described Longoria as humble, a fast learner and dedicated to the community.
Local officers hosted a candlelight vigil Monday evening, April 12, as a show of solidarity and mourning for their fallen comrade.
“Justin was the youngest of the four boys,” his mother said. “He was known for that big, bright, beautiful smile of his and people always asked him if he would consider a career in modeling. He would just laugh it off because his heart was all about protecting the citizens of Pearsall.”
Longoria was the grandson of former Frio County Pct. 3 Commissioner Ruben Maldonado and shared his love of music. The officer is remembered as often being heard humming tunes from a wide range of musical genres.
“He loved to play basketball, hunt with his brothers and dad, and he was a jokester,” his mother said. “But his biggest accomplishment were his children, Joziah and Justin.”
The deputy is survived by parents Raymundo and Rubyann (Maldonado) Longoria; brothers Anthony, Jonathon and Joshua; life partner Yendi Camacho; and sons Joziah Michael and Justin Malaki Longoria Jr.