ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 Orlando) - A new officer with the University of Central Florida police department says she wants to focus on combating active shooters and workplace violence after her mother was killed in a mass shooting.
Ashley Gonzalez Montanez was sworn-in last month.
“It was very emotional – but it was nice,” Officer Gonzalez said.
The 24-year-old says her mother always looked forward to seeing her wear the badge.
“She was worried but she was very proud,” Gonzalez explained. “She was always like, ‘I can’t wait for you to graduate. I can’t wait for you to become a police officer.’”
But her mom never got to see it happen. In June of 2017, Brenda Montanez-Crespo and four other employees at the Fiamma warehouse near Orlando were gunned down.
Police say the shooter, a former employee, then killed himself.
“My mom was very happy. She had a great smile,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez says after her mom was killed, she put a lot of focus into becoming a UCF police officer, which helped her get through the grieving process.
“The police department has been great. They’ve given me a lot of support and I want to give it back,” Gonzalez said.
While she’s always been interested in law enforcement, she says her focus has narrowed, given what she’s been through.
“I’m definitely pro – be ready for anything. Especially here on campus. Active shooters, that’s kind of what I want to focus on in the future and work place violence,” Gonzalez said.
The young officer is serving her community and no doubt making her mom proud.
“She would have loved it. She would have loved it,” Gonzalez said.