Lost in the line of duty

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Members of the Phoenix Police Department stand at attention as the names of those in law enforcement and emergency personnel who died over the past year— both in the line of duty and non-work-related causes — are read during the annual Blue Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in this 2013 file photo. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Members of the Phoenix Police Department stand at attention as the names of those in law enforcement and emergency personnel who died over the past year— both in the line of duty and non-work-related causes — are read during the annual Blue Mass at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in this 2013 file photo. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

The Diocese of Phoenix, in partnership with area law enforcement agencies and fire departments, remembers all those who have died in the line of duty at the annual Blue Mass. A fellow member of their respective agency reads their name, brief bio and the circumstances surrounding their “end of watch” or “last alarm” status.

A tealight candle honors the memory of each public safety servant.

Last week, a local parishioner’s name was added to that list: Detective John T. Hobbs, a 21-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department. His funeral is today. A candle will be lit in his honor at the next Blue Mass, which is held every November.

Hobbs was a parishioner at St. Clare of Assisi in Surprise. He was 43 when he was slain in the line of duty March 3. Hobbs is survived by his wife, Cathy and three young children.

Students at several Catholic schools raised funds and sent well-wishes to his family and that of a second officer shot the same day. St. Gregory students raised more than $700 and sent cards of payer and thanks for all police officers. St. Louis the King students in Glendale and St. Thomas the Apostle students took on similar efforts.

The more than 400 entries on his obituary’s guest book spans 42 pages and come from across the country. Some of the more notable ones including this police officer prayer:

  • As the 2013 Blue Mass drew to a close, members of law enforcement and fire departments process out carrying the names of those lost in the line of duty on their respective flags. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

    As the 2013 Blue Mass drew to a close, members of law enforcement and fire departments process out with the names of those lost in the line of duty draped over their respective flags. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

    “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for friends” John 15:13. May the Lord give you peace and comfort in the days to come.
    The Long Family, Phx Fire
    Alexis Long
    Glendale, Arizona
  • I am a teacher and do not get to watch or hear the news very often. I heard about your passing on Monday evening and on Tuesday when I got to school the Janitor had already lowered the flag to half mass for you. I was touched and thankful that in our community we thank and remember all of those who serve. I am sorry for your passing and my family and I are praying for your family. May your family find the peace they need to make it through their suffering. Thank you for the years you protected us from harm, and selflessly put your life in harms way for our lives. May you rest in peace and God be with you.
    Arizona
  • I recall John as one of the first people to befriend me when I changed schools in the fifth grade. I was always struck by his loyal and willing to stand by those he considered friends. The prayers and thoughts of my family go out to his wife and children. All I can think of to say is Great Job John, Thanks You!
    ~Jeremy Bethancourt
    Phoenix, Arizona
  • You might not remember me but I met you at the Phoenix Airport. You were working undercover with my brothers Dan and Ray Fulton. I want your family to know that you have touched them so deeply that your family is now my family. RIP John and know that my family will take care of your family.
    ~Roxanne Fulton-Lamphere
    Lake Preston, South Dakota
  • it saddens me when one of those who fight to keep us safe is taken, we all may not have known him by name but we see him, we know him, and we thank him.
    ~Elizabeth Holm
    Surprise, Arizona
  • Rest in peace brother, thanks for your dedication to hunting the worst of the worst criminals out there! God be with your family in this rough time! Your story is an inspiration to the rest of us
    ~a fellow officer and brother sheepdog
    Ohio

Read a statement from the family

Read statement from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, also a local Catholic

Read statement from Phoenix councilman and chair of the public safety subcommittee

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