R.I.P. Officer Toshio Hirai


A day after suffering serious injuries in a crash on his way to work, a Gardena motorcycle officer died of his injuries at a hospital Thursday, Nov. 15, officials announced.

Officer Toshio Hirai, 34, was a 12-year veteran of the Gardena Police Department and worked as a SWAT team member and a traffic investigator before becoming a motorcycle officer.

He leaves behind his wife and a 2-year-old son.

Hirai was on his way to work on his police motorcycle traveling northbound on Western Avenue near 238th Street when the crash occurred, Tom Kang, Gardena’s chief of police, said at a Thursday evening press conference.

First responding officers conducted immediate CPR, Kang said.

Hirai and a 17-year-old teenage girl were transported to the hospital. Hirai was listed in critical condition. The girl’s condition wasn’t immediately known. The crash involved two vehicles and the motorcycle, authorities said.

Kang spoke outside Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in front of more than 100 officers, who stood behind him. Kang took several pauses to collect himself during the conference and said he had shed a lot of tears as if Hirai was his own son.

Hirai had an abundance of knowledge, Kang said, and was one of the smartest people he ever met.

“He would go out of his way to help anyone and he was a mentor to a lot of our officers,” Kang said. “We’re truly going to miss him.”

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