Hero Down: Lubbock Police Officer Gustavo 'Gus' Imbarlina Dies Unexpectedly
Lubbock, TX – Lubbock Police Department (LPD) Officer Gustavo “Gus” Imbarlina died unexpectedly on Feb. 25.
The 52-year-old officer immigrated to the U.S. from Uruguay with his parents as a child, and grew up in the Pittsburgh area, according to his obituary.
“Gus would give his all for anyone he ever encountered, so there is no way to describe just how much he would do for his family and friends,” the tribute read.
Officer Imbarlina served as a U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance specialist prior to his law enforcement career.
He joined LPD in January of 1996, according to his LinkedIn page.
While serving his department, Officer Imbarlina joined the U.S. Army Reserves, his obituary read.
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he was deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“While serving in Iraq, he received an Army Commendation Medal for selfless service in combat operations in 2003,” according to his obituary. “He then returned home where he continued to serve with the Lubbock Police Department.”
Officer Imbarlina was a “distinguished officer and mentor” who received the Police Medal of Valor for his heroic actions on two different occasions, according to the tribute.
The highlight of his career was serving on the LPD’s SWAT team.
Officer Imbarlina made headlines in 2009 when he and fellow LPD Officer Brent Hackett jumped into an ice-cold lake to rescue a 46-year-old woman who had driven her SUV into the water during a medical emergency, KCBD reported.
The officers and Lubbock EMS Paramedic Chad Curry were able to extract the woman from the sinking vehicle, then swam her back to shore.
The woman was transported to a local hospital, where she was treated and released, KCBD reported.
“Gus was a highly respected friend and co-worker. I always enjoyed his sense of humor,” Joe Gonzalez wrote in a memorial tribute to the fallen officer. “A great warrior, a great mediator and a highly respected police officer. Rest in peace my friend.”
Stan Bloodworth said he worked the latter portion of his career alongside Officer Imbarlina at the LPD.
“We were on the same squad until I retired,” Bloodworth wrote in a memorial tribute. “We talked every day and ate lunch together on most days. Gus was one of the good guys. He had a way with people. He treated everyone with respect.”
Officer Imbarlina leaves behind his wife, Diane, as well as his daughter, Breanna, and his stepdaughter, TeriLinda, according to his obituary.
He is also survived by his mother, siblings, niece, nephew, three grandchildren, and his great-grandson.
Officer Imbarlina will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Lubbock Police Department Officer Gustavo “Gus” Imbarlina, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.