Grief-stricken Houston firefighters give testimonials about fallen arson investigator Lemuel 'DJ' Bruce

Friday, October 23, 2020
Grief-stricken HFD gives testimonials about fallen investigator
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A grief-stricken Houston Fire Department fondly looked back at the life of Lemuel "DJ" Bruce, who had died while pursuing an arson suspect.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Amid a week of mourning among Houston's first responders, the city honored the life of arson investigator Lemuel "DJ" Bruce.

Members of Houston Fire Department marched around Lakewood Church where Bruce's memorial took place.

A number of Bruce's colleagues reflected on the life he lived.

During the service, HFD also revealed that his radio number of 748 would be retired.

Bruce's flag-draped casket was loaded onto an HFD fire truck for his processional before the memorial.

EARLIER THIS WEEK: Traffic paused for arson investigator's procession

On Monday, drivers on the roads and freeways in the Houston area gave way to a police-escorted procession for Bruce, who died in the line of duty last week.

The procession started at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences on Old Spanish Trail, while his firefighter comrades saluted.

The procession moved on to the freeways until it arrived at Tomball's Klein Funeral Home.

At the scene where Bruce was shot, a small memorial was erected by retired firefighter Richard Kercho and current firefighter John Ortiz.

Bruce was conducting surveillance during an arson investigation last Friday when he got into a confrontation with a suspect where they exchanged gunfire.

The suspect, Joshua Delacerda, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene. About an hour later, Bruce died from his injuries at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Arson investigator was 1st in HFD's history to be killed in line of duty

Bruce was 44 years old, was married, had two children - ages 12 and 8, and was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

He began his career with the Houston Fire Department in 2003, and over the years, was assigned to HFD Stations 77, 96, 42, 64, 6 and 12.

WATCH: Press play on the video below to hear what we learned about the investigator

He joined the HFD Fire & Arson Investigation Division five years ago.

Bruce is the fourth member of the Houston Fire Department to die in the line of duty since July. Three others were lost due to COVID-19 and complications from the illness.

SEE ALSO: HFD arson investigator dies after shooting with suspect

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