MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The large family of a slain Hollywood police officer is grieving. His sister said on Tuesday Officer Yandy Chirino was also a beloved uncle.
Tuesday night, a vigil was held outside the Hollywood Police Department as family and friends mourned and honored the young officer.
Chirino, 28, was searching for a cyclist who was looking for unlocked cars near the Emerald Hills Country Club on Sunday night. He found Jason Banegas, 18, who fit the description, police said.
Banegas resisted arrest and shot Chirino, police said. A fellow officer took him to Memorial Regional Hospital where a doctor later pronounced him dead, according to Hollywood Chief Chris O’Brien
“He was a good guy ... He loved my kids so much ... He died doing what he loved ... He is a hero ... He loved helping people. He loved his family so much,” his sister Yaily Chirino said from her home in southwest Miami-Dade County.
The 2011 Coral Park Senior High School graduate and former soccer player joined the Hollywood Police Department in 2017. Soon after, he volunteered to help raise funds for the Special Olympics. His YouTube videos of paragliding in Colombia and flying a Cessna, show he was adventurous.
During his career with the Hollywood Police Department, records in his personnel file show he earned commendations from five supervisors. Three of them presented similar scenarios like the one he faced on Sunday night when he volunteered to work.
In 2018, Sgt. Larry VanDusseldorp commended Chirino’s “tactics and rapid response” after catching a repeat burglar with a long criminal history within a minute after dispatch.
In 2019, Sgt. Alexander Chang commended Chirino’s “rapid response, excellent patrol techniques, and observation skills” after arresting two burglary suspects.
Chirino was the June 2020 officer of the month after Sgt. Brian Kalish commended him for his “teamwork, police tactics, use of resources and dedication to duty” after identifying a car burglar.
On Monday, during a news conference, O’Brien said Chirino “gave his life honorably and without hesitation.”
The Hollywood Police Department is also grieving the loss of Lt. John Graham, a retired U.S. Marine who served from 1996 to 2000.
Graham had been with the department for two decades. He had received 12 supervisor commendations and was December 2007 officer of the month.
Graham had recently been accepted to law school. Deputies found him dead on Monday morning in Plantation and he appeared to have died by suicide.