SAN DIEGO – A Marine combat veteran who was shot in the head while patrolling San Diego streets as a police officer was remembered Friday as a generous and upbeat leader whose dedication to public service inspired those around him.
Jeremy Henwood, 36, was posthumously promoted to major in the Marine Corps Reserve at a funeral service attended by more than 3,000 mourners, including California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Henwood died six months after returning from Afghanistan when a motorist flashed his headlights behind his patrol car, as if to seek help, then pulled alongside and shot him.
Police Chief William Lansdowne said a surveillance video taken at a fast-food restaurant two blocks from the shooting showed the officer had just bought a meal for a 10-year-old boy who was watching him in awe.
"You see this little boy with a giant grin, saying 'thank you, thank you, officer,'" Lansdowne said.
Robbie Henwood Jr. told mourners that he tried in vain to get his older brother to follow his footsteps into federal law enforcement, which promised better pay and an opportunity to move around. He didn't understand why Jeremy — at the time a Marine with two tours in Iraq on his resume and a chest full of military medals — wanted to be a rookie police officer.
"He wouldn't hear it, he wouldn't discuss it. Jeremy absolutely loved San Diego. He loved the PD," Robbie Henwood said. "Money meant nothing to him."
Jeremy Henwood, a Canadian native who grew up in the San Antonio area and graduated from the University of Texas, joined the Marines in 1995 and the San Diego police force in 2007.
In February, he returned from his third combat tour, which included seven months leading about 160 Marines in Afghanistan's northern Helmand province. He was a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve, assigned to Bravo Company in the Combat Logistics Battalion II, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
During his last tour, he led an 11-mile-long convoy to bring supplies to a remote U.S. base and devised new tactics to escort Afghan government vehicles in hostile territory. His Marines survived improvised explosive devices and small-arms attacks.
Marine Maj. Ted Bonanno, a close friend, said Henwood was enormously proud that all his Marines returned home alive.
"That was really all that mattered to him. His biggest regret was that several were injured. He gave of himself in every way possible," said Bonanno.
Friends and colleagues said Henwood never complained, and his boyish, happy-go-lucky enthusiasm rubbed off on everyone around him. When Henwood called, Bonanno answered the phone, "Hey, Motivator."
Henwood, a skydiver who skied, flew airplanes and scuba-dived, loved his police work, except for writing reports. Capt. Lawrence McKinney, who supervised him at the department's Mid-City division, said Henwood was motivated by his recent tour in Afghanistan.
"Taking the bull by the horns would be an understatement," McKinney said. "He was blazing."
Police shot and killed Dejon White in a confrontation minutes after Henwood was shot on Saturday. Police said White, 23, shot another man in the parking lot of another restaurant shortly before he attacked Henwood.
Henwood is survived by his parents, Robbie and Beverley, and his younger siblings, Robbie Jr. and Emily.