STOCKTON, Calif. — The family of Stockton police officer Jimmy Inn has spent the past year reflecting on the day he was killed in the line of duty on May 11, 2021.
Tela Inn, Jimmy’s wife, shared what happened that morning when he was killed. She said Jimmy, a six-year veteran of the Stockton Police Department, went home as he usually did on his break to see her and their seven-month-old son, Jacen.
“I kind of held Jacen at the door and I said ‘bye-bye’ and watched him get in the car,” Tela said.
Jimmy and his wife Tela met at the police academy and both worked for the Stockton Police Department.
“I left here [home] around 9:50,” Tela said. “I took Jacen to the babysitter and I was getting him out of the car and I heard a bunch of gunshots. I was in the Oak Park area and I texted him actually, and I texted him at 10:09.”
She said her husband never responded.
Inn was fatally shot on May 11, 2021, while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
“I kept driving to work and I was at a stoplight and on my screen, on my truck, and the number wasn’t saved but it was like 'this is the phone call,'” Tela said. “This is gonna be the worst phone call of my life.”
She said when she arrived at the hospital she had a feeling he didn’t make it.
“I think in my heart I knew he was already gone, and then just seeing a bunch of officers outside the hospital I just knew, you know,” Tela said.
Jimmy’s father, Phaly Inn, was at work.
“Police officer in Stockton got shot,” Phaly said. “No details besides that. I said 'OK' as a father, as a family, my heart was pumping right there.”
“The nurse came in and said they were doing everything they can, which I also know what that means 'cause I’m a cop,” Tela said. “They let me see him. Me only. I think only because they weren’t sure of how the whole situation would unfold and evidence. They wanted to preserve everything they can.”
In the days and weeks that followed, the Stockton community and people around the world came out to show their support through prayers, gifts, and presence.
“We all saw the community come together in a crazy unexpected way where hundreds and thousands of people lined the streets as we drove through the day of the funeral, and so many fundraisers in the months after that,” Roman Finch, Jimmy’s cousin, said. “It never ended. It showed how many people he touched and impacted.”
Jimmy’s death was hard to process for the Cambodian community who saw him grow up. His family volunteered at Wat Dhammararam Buddhist Temple.
“I used to see Jimmy there when we would volunteer every year,” Sophaline Mao, a family friend, said. “He was always smiling. He always had a big camera capturing photos and just a great big personality, you know, but he would just warm everybody up just such a friendly, outgoing, you know, young man. It really impacted the Cambodian community. I think we felt a sense of pride that, you know, he served his city and his community here in Stockton, like so well, and that he was so well loved.”
Jimmy’s impact on the community can still be seen today. Hundreds came out to the Honor Stockton Blue run wearing shirts in memory of Jimmy in April 2022, almost a year after he was killed.
“It was unbelievable but believable because it’s Jimmy and I don’t think he had one enemy in this world honestly, and I think that the people that knew or knew him from a call knew what kind of person he was, so that community came together to support another member of Stockton,” Tela said.
Grieving is different for each of Jimmy's family members. His sister Jessica tries to visit him where he’s buried. Although nearby, she says it’s a hard trip to make.
“I always try to go every month,” Jessica said. “It seems like an easy thing to do but it’s still hard for me to go because it’s another look at reality like, 'Hey, he’s not here anymore.'”
As they all reflect on one year, they remember Jimmy’s infectious smile, his love for his family, Star Wars, and all the memories they shared in his 30 years.
A few days before Jimmy was killed, he hosted a lunch at his home for his family on Mother’s Day.
“It makes it a little bit more special,” Jessica said. “Remember the little things and him saying 'where are you guys' and trying to get us there 'cause he really wanted to see us and hang out with us. He loved spending time with family.”
The family took a photo on that Mother’s Day. It’s the last photo they all have together.
“I think what upsets me because there are no more memories to create,” Tela said. “Only memories to remember.”
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