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'He was a protector': Friends and family share memories of Det. Cliff Martinez

Law enforcement from across Texas gathered Tuesday to honor the life of one of their own.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio ISD Detective Cliff Martinez was laid to to rest Tuesday, weeks after he was killed while working security at an IHOP last month. 

During his service at Community Bible Church, family, friends and fellow police officers shared their memories of Martinez.

Albert, Martinez's father, stood in front of the crowd with a broken heart. He said his son died doing what he loved. 

"He was a protector and he loved law enforcement," Martinez said. "I was proud of my son, knowing he was there protecting the people in that restaurant."

Martinez spent 28 years keeping the children of SAISD safe. It's where he met his colleague and friend, Ralph Garcia.

"We had breakfast together every day for 10 years—same restaurant, same table and sitting on the same chairs," Garcia said. "That was Cliff's happy place. There were a lot of conversations at that table."

Garcia said Martinez was a friend who would always "have your back." He was also described as someone quick to help others. 

"If you were out on patrol in the middle of the night and you called out, you wouldn't be surprised if Cliff answered the radio," Garcia said. "That's just the way he was."

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Martinez could also fix just about any tech problem people brought to his attention. SAISD Lt. Michelle White told stories of how helpful he was whenever she had computer trouble.

"I'd send Cliff a page that started with, 'Sir, if you have a moment' and if he was anywhere near the office, he'd magically appear by my side," White said. "Cliff went out of his way for everyone. It wasn't just an IT problem; it was anything you voiced that you needed. He heard you and he answered you."

People moved by Martinez's character surrounded him one last time. 

His badge number was retired and, with a 21-gun salute, Martinez was honored by his brothers and sisters in blue.

"We were sucker-punched by evil and shaken to our core," Garcia said. "But we shall stay in the fight. Live your life like Detective Martinez did and you'll find your way again to the top. We shall see each other again. Rest in peace, my friend."

A GoFundMe account is still active for Martinez and his family. So far, more than $14,000 has been raised. IHOP has said it will match donations of up to $30,000. 

The school district has also started the Cliff Martinez Memorial Scholarship. Proceeds will help SAISD students in police explorer programs who are pursuing careers as police officers.