Skip to main content

Beloved Minneapolis police officer dies after being diagnosed with stomach cancer

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Jesse Garcia, once the face of the Minneapolis Police Department, has died after being diagnosed with stage-four stomach cancer earlier this year.

The 49-year-old police sergeant was "one of Minneapolis’ most recognizable and beloved cops" during his time as the department's public information officer, often appearing in media interviews and "missed" when he returned to investigations a couple years ago, according to the Star Tribune.

The disease apparently snuck up on the veteran cop, who revealed in February that he was diagnosed with "minimal symptoms" at the Mayo Clinic, the paper says.

Tributes to the officer began to appear on social media Thursday morning, including a farewell from the St. Paul Police Department.

And the organization that was "near and dear" to Garcia's heart – Bike Cops for Kids – has put together a memorial ride for the officer, FOX 9 reports.

Meanwhile, Bob Collins, an MPR News writer and pilot, expressed regret over having missed a chance to take the popular officer for a flight in his aircraft – a mutual friend had organized the trip, but Garcia was too ill to fly and died not long after.

Collins spoke highly of Garcia's public reputation, adding: "I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to anything more in my flying career" than taking the sergeant for a tour over the Twin Cities.

Garcia had been on leave from the department while he battled his diagnosis, the Star Tribune says.

In March, not long after his diagnosis, he filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the department in connection with the "Pointergate" controversy.

According to the filing, Garcia said his career was sabotaged when one of his investigations found a connection between an armed robbery and the man who appeared in a photo with Mayor Betsy Hodges allegedly flashing "gang signs."

Next Up

walz flanagan lorie shaull flickr

Gov. proposes 'Walz Checks' for most Minnesotans

The governor wants to use $700 million of the state's surplus to fund the payments.

Hutch crash booking photo

Walz, Flanagan call on Hennepin Co. sheriff to resign

"I would say that it is time for him to resign," the Lt. Gov. said.

line 3 enbridge portage lake hubbard county mn tony webster flickr

Months after missing deadline, Enbridge says Line 3 aquifer breach is fixed

The company told Bring Me The News it "successfully stopped the flow of groundwater" at the site.

canada bodies found

Baby, teenager among 4 found dead along MN, Canada border

Authorities believe all four froze to death.

unsplash roller rink skates CROP

Former roller rink, tennis courts will become new sports hub

The Wooddale Fun Zone has been closed since spring of 2020.

hibachi daruma

Popular hibachi food truck opens second Twin Cities restaurant

The much-anticipated Daruma opens for takeout Thursday evening.

20211128_Vikings_49ers_REG12_0144 (1)

What changes are coming to the Vikings' offensive line?

Once again, Minnesota has work to do to figure out its interior spots

Kris Ehresmann

One of Minnesota's key COVID-19 leaders is retiring

Kris Ehresmann has given more than 30 years of her life to public health in Minnesota.

summit beach park orono

Plan to develop Orono park on hold after Daytons object

The Dayton family donated the land to the city for the park in the 1970s.

covid nurse doctor hospital wikimedia commons

Child from Twin Cities, school staff member die from COVID

Both deaths were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


3 clippers will deliver snow to Minnesota through Tuesday

Clippers move through Friday night, Saturday night and again Monday.