Lynnwood police reserve officer dies of cancer

Lynnwood police are mourning the loss of a colleague and friend.

62-year-old Mark San Diego, a reserve officer with the Lynnwood Police Department, died Wednesday night after a brief battle with cancer. He served 24 years and voluntarily left the department when he was diagnosed a few months ago.

Reserve officers are paid a small stipend but essentially volunteer their time.

For the past eight years San Diego’s day job was spent protecting the Snohomish County Courthouse as a marshal. His supervisor there, Sgt. Dave Hayes, said it was clear Mark loved the job.

“We lost a great public servant in Mark San Diego,” Hayes said. “He was funny, full of life and loved what he was doing.”

Police Chief Steve Jensen said San Diego was dedicated to serving the citizens of Lynnwood.

“His death is a sad event in the lives of all City and Lynnwood Police Departmental staff. He will be missed and remembered with fondness and respect.”

San Diego was honored with the Medal of Valor for an incident in 1996. Lynnwood Police Sgt. Jon Grabinski was also on duty that night.

“A call came in to 911 regarding a knife fight at a Lynnwood convenience store. There was a large crowd that had formed and Mark was the first to arrive on scene,” Grabinski said.

“The suspect who was still armed with the knife wouldn’t comply. Mark could have done a number of things at this point, even use deadly force, but instead he went hand-to-hand with him and disarmed the suspect of the knife and took him into custody all by himself,” he added.

San Diego is survived by his wife Teresa, his sons Mike and Mark, daughter Lisa and her husband Mike, a grandson, along with his mother Betty and a large extended family.

Details of a memorial service have not yet been announced.

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