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Fallen Grand Prairie officer among those honored with Star of Texas Awards

Grand Prairie officer remembered: ‘He saw a need and had a strong desire to alleviate the suffering’

The funeral of Grand Prairie Police Officer A.J. Castaneda was held Thursday at The Potter's House church in Dallas. Castaneda died June 7 when he was hit by a car while running radar on the President George Bush Turnpike.
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The funeral of Grand Prairie Police Officer A.J. Castaneda was held Thursday at The Potter's House church in Dallas. Castaneda died June 7 when he was hit by a car while running radar on the President George Bush Turnpike.

Fallen Grand Prairie Officer A.J. Castaneda was posthumously recognized Wednesday with a Star of Texas Award, joining other officers honored for their sacrifices in the line of duty.

Gov. Greg Abbott presented the awards around 10 a.m. in the Texas State Capitol in Austin, giving them to officers who were injured in service or the families of those who died. Since the ceremony began in 2003, more than 500 Texans have been honored with the award, according to Abbott’s website.

Members of Castaneda’s family met with Abbott on Wednesday to pick up the award, according to Grand Prairie police. Castaneda, 38, was killed June 7 when he was hit by a car as he stood outside his patrol vehicle along the President George Bush Turnpike running radar.

He wasn’t the only local officer to be honored at the ceremony.

Fort Worth Corporal Garrett Hull, who was killed in September 2018 by a man suspected in a string of armed robberies, received an award Wednesday, police said. Chief Ed Kraus tweeted he accepted the award.

Additionally, two Arlington officers injured in the line of duty — Corporal Alex Quintanilla and motorcycle officer Christopher Fegley — also picked up awards.

“Being a police officer carries certain inherent risks related to the normal course of duty,” said Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson in a Tuesday news release. “These two fine men were simply doing their job in our noble profession. I am proud that their heroic actions are being honored by Governor Abbott.”

Fegley, who was on his motorcycle, was injured on June 4, 2007, when he was struck by a vehicle as he responded to a robbery call in Arlington.

Quintanilla was shot in January during a foot pursuit. Another officer had stopped a vehicle and the suspect got out and ran. Quintanilla arrived to assist and was wounded. He is continuing to recover from his injuries, but he is on limited duty.

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