Fallen detectives were academy sweethearts, athletic stars

Local

SAN DIEGO — Loved ones say they’ll remember the pair of San Diego Police detectives killed in a wrong-way crash Friday as a dynamic duo on and off-duty — life partners since they first met in the academy.

Ryan Park, 32, and his wife Jamie Huntley-Park, 33, were on their days off but following up on a tip for one of Jamie’s cases when they were struck head-on by a driver on Interstate 5 in San Ysidro, San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit says.

Jamie worked in SDPD’s Southern Division, Ryan with the Homicide Unit. They were hired as police recruits on the same day just over nine years ago, and were promoted to detective on the same day in 2017. They fell for each other after meeting during police academy. By the time they made detective, they were married.

“They are the two bravest, generous, loving people that I know and they loved their community,” Jamie’s mother, Cherisse Huntley, told FOX 5 in a statement. “They loved their work and they’re going to be missed.”

In an emotional news conference Friday, Nisleit said the two were a pair of young detectives on the rise.

“You couldn’t have met two nicer kids,” he told reporters from downtown police headquarters. “(They) had nothing but their lives ahead of them. Both their lives and their careers were definitely on a very, very rapid trend upward, just doing amazing work.”

A major part of the couple’s off-duty lives revolved around athletics, friends told FOX 5. Ryan was a talented runner, and Jamie an accomplished ice hockey player who went on to referee at the professional level and coach youth leagues.

“Everyone will forever and ever remember her by her heart of gold, and her giving — always, always giving back — to the kids that she coached, to her fellow officials when she was a referee, and to her fellow officers,” said Alex Morrison, the girls’ program director for the San Diego Angels youth hockey team. “Right now, we’re all grieving. All the coaches, we’re really a tight-knit family.”

Jamie was considered a lock to work the Olympics as an official, and would have likely worked as a referee at the Women’s World Championship in Calgary, as well.

Morrison says he got to know Ryan well, too — the group had just gotten together at Disneyland on Monday of the week of the crash. He says Jamie’s husband was an exceptional match.

“Fun-loving, had a sense for adventure,” Morrison told FOX 5. “Would give his shirt off his back for you.”

Jamie and Ryan did not have children, but they leave behind an extended family of friends and loved ones in the ranks of their different communities, on and off-duty.

“Everyone’s hearts are broken tonight,” Morrison said.

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