Fallen Coug and SWAT officer beloved by many

FORMER COUGAR CORNERBACK Randal Simmons -– Randy to his friends -– is being remembered this week as a brave hero, but even more so as a loving family man with a special place in his heart for kids and the underprivileged. An ordained minister as well as a police officer, his faith in God was "contagious," as was the spirit he brought to the sidelines as a coach in his son's youth football league.

Simmons, a Los Angeles Police Department SWAT team member killed in the line of duty last week, will be laid to rest Friday at at 11 am at the Crenshaw Christian Faith Dome (7901 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, 90000.) with burial afterward at Holy Cross Cemetary in Culver City.

The outpouring of grief, respect and appreciation has taken hold of Los Angeles. Thousands -- perhaps as many as 10,000 -- are expected to attend his funeral.

SIMMONS IN 1977 WSU TEAM PHOTO. Cougs opened that season with back-to-back road wins over Nebraska and Michigan State. After his senior season in 1978, Simmons tried out with the Dallas Cowboys and made it to the last cut.

Simmons played for the Cougars from 1974-78.

Former WSU teammate and fellow cornerback Basil Kimbrew remembers standing in line with Simmons at the 2003 Rose Bowl to buy commemorative Cougar jackets. Simmons was just in front of Kimbrew and wound up getting the last jacket available. When he realized Kimbrew was out of luck, Simmons insisted that Kimbrew take the last one as a gift.

"He told me it was a thank you for a time back at WSU when he was a freshman and forgot his cleats and I gave him a pair of mine. That was the kind of guy Randy was," said Kimbrew, who is organizing a gathering of Cougars to make a presentation to Simmons' wife Lisa and their two children at Friday's memorial service.

Two marvelous articles on Simmons and the special life of service he led appeared in recent days in the Los Angeles Daily Breeze. Here are excepts, as well as links to the full stories:

Randy Simmons was contagious in his love of God and children
He was the gentle, quiet, muscular man who played basketball in front of his house, ministered at his church and in tough streets, and jogged through his Rancho Palos Verdes neighborhood every day. But Randy Simmons was more than just a good neighbor and caring mentor. He was a veteran LAPD cop who put his life on the line to protect others. "I couldn't believe it when I saw it," said 83-year-old Mary Bobic, who was saddened Thursday to learn her neighbor across the street had been killed in a gunbattle. "When I saw his picture, I said, `Oh my God!' I told my husband. He said, `He's a good man."' Click here for the full story.

Officer killed in shooting was a coach to many
Brandon Robinson is grateful he met Los Angeles police Officer Randal Simmons. About five years ago, the teen's problems with his stepfather turned to rage at home and at school, where he talked back to his teachers and got himself into trouble. Simmons signed on as a coach with the El Segundo Youth Football League and Cheer program. Robinson, an 11-year-old already on the team, found his life taking a turn for the better. Click here for the full story.

The Los Angeles Daily News also published a wonderful tribute to Simmons that featured comments from area residents. Here's the link:
Tributes pour in for slain SWAT officer.



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