Justice for Bert: peaceful rally held for slain cop - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Justice for Bert: peaceful rally held for slain cop

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The fatal shooting in Yigo that took the life of a veteran police officer last week has generated plenty of response from the community both on and offline. Family and close friends of the late Bert Piolo are speaking out in what they're calling "Justice for Bert."

"I was just shocked when I woke up one morning and he wasn't there anymore," said Greg Lizama, a longtime friend of Piolo. That tragic day was last Monday. In the early morning hours the Guam Police officer was shot in the chest and pronounced dead shortly after.   

Lizama was devastated by Piolo's sudden passing. Today, Lizama along with family and close friends gathered at the ITC Intersection in Tamuning for a peace rally. "We're here today in hopes to enlighten people that we need justice for our friend. He was a good person and a good hearted man. Very kind to everybody. Very humble. He had his whole life ahead of him," he said.

Piolo was allegedly shot by another officer, Mark Torre, Jr., at the Torre home in Yigo. Torre was charged with murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault. Although bail was initially set at a half-million dollars, Torre was released on reduced bail - a $165,000 property bond - land owned by Torre's grandmother. He remains on house arrest to third-party custodians: his grandmother, his mother, and his wife. Torre is prohibited from communicating with anyone from GPD, including his father, who is a lieutenant with the force.

Torre's release was an upset for Lizama, who was present at the bail hearing last week. "You know really - I was really upset with them lowering the bail. With all the evidence at hand. He, too, had a reputation. He, too, was in SWAT. And I feel just because his presence wasn't there, I don't feel he was defended properly. Because he wasn't in the room," he said.

The Guam Police Department is heading the homicide investigation - what Lizama hopes won't be a conflict, seeing as the case involves two of their own. "I just hope that everyone is honest enough. That they do it the right way. He was a human being before he was an officer. He was a friend, a father, a husband, an uncle, a brother. He means a lot to us," he shared.

Piolo was 38 years old and worked as a GPD officer for over 15 years. He was also a percussionist for local band Soul Vibes and recently started the clothing line Good Vibez. He was a husband and father to four children. Last respects for Piolo are scheduled for this weekend.

Lizame said, "Funeral services are going to be on Saturday from 9am and according to the family we'll be at Our Lady of Peace. After the mass, there will be a procession. I believe there's also going to be a motorcade at 7:30 following around the island to all the services and agencies he used to work for."

While Piolo is laid to rest, family and friends pray for justice. "The last thing I want to say is that I miss you so much Bert, and I wish you were here with us. I love you, par," he said, solemnly.

Torre is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow before Judge Michael Bordallo. Proceedings get

 

Many were not aware that Piolo had a passion for music, and several of the island's musicians shared their favorite memories with KUAM News about their friend.

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