Farewell to a hero
|Sheriff deputy's funeral photo gallery|
|Video: Funeral service for Deputy Sheriff Daniel M. Browne-Sanchez|
By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Suzanne Roig
A sea of uniforms turned out to say goodbye to one of their own yesterday.
About 200 law enforcement officers bid farewell to Daniel Browne-Sanchez, who was shot to death Feb. 10 while off-duty from the Sheriff's Department and working part time as a bartender's assistant at a lounge and restaurant on Kapi'olani Boulevard. He was the first state deputy sheriff to be shot and killed, on or off duty.
John Koa Lorenzo Jr., 32, has been charged with shooting Browne-Sanchez three times during an armed robbery at the Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge. Browne-Sanchez was trying to subdue the gunman when he was killed, police said.
"He was so young," said Patrick Kawai, an O'ahu Correctional Center social worker who attended sheriff's training classes with Browne-Sanchez.
Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona was at the services yesterday as well as state Attorney General Mark Bennett.
"Daniel's death is such a loss to the law enforcement community," Bennett said. "I know everyone in Hawai'i appreciates the sacrifice ... It's just so sad."
The 27-year-old Browne-Sanchez was described as a hero in most anyone's book. He was said to always have a ready smile and a quick wit. He liked to play music and ride his motorcycle. He is the only son of Robina Browne, who sought to keep her son's service as private as possible, asking that the news media stay across the street from Borthwick Mortuary.
In the week since Browne-Sanchez was killed, duty has called, leaving not much time for fellow officers to grieve, said Sheriff's Sgt. Shawn Tsuba.
"He definitely is a hero," Tsuba said. "Most of us recognized that what he did, even though he was off duty, was what his training taught him to do. We try to do the right thing as a sheriff."
Services were held at Borthwick to a standing-room-only crowd. So many people showed up that they ran out of programs. The services opened to the sound of a conch shell being blown and a Scottish bagpipe player.
Many officers stood outside the Maunakea Chapel listening to the eulogy on a loudspeaker. Officers from the Honolulu Police Department, the Honolulu Fire Department, state corrections officers, the Sheriff's Department, the Public Safety Honor Guard, Emergency Medical Services, the Narcotics Enforcement Division, Harbor Police and state Department of Land and Natural Resource all stood at attention during a pass in review at the state Capitol.
"It's been real hard on all of us," said Deputy Sheriff Johnnie Kukahiko, who worked with Browne-Sanchez. "The law enforcement brotherhood is not as big a community as people think."
Sheriff's deputies are trained to run into a battle, not from it, Kukahiko said. Browne-Sanchez and Kukahiko worked together at the District Court building.
"Some people might say what he did was kind of foolish, but to us, he's a hero. We don't run away from battle. If Dan didn't do what he did that night, we might be at more than one funeral today. He saved a lot of lives."
Part of Browne-Sanchez's reaction was his training, the other part was his personality, said chaplain Larry Kelly.
A sharpshooter, Browne-Sanchez was with the department for five years and earned the distinction of being a "top gun" from a federal sniper training certification program he attended in Boise, Idaho.
"When you look in the dictionary under the word hero, it should always say there stood a man named Daniel Browne-Sanchez," Kelly said.
Reach Suzanne Roig at email@example.com.