GILBERT, AZ — A Gilbert officer injured during a pursuit last week is continuing to recover and his family is grateful for the community's support.
Officer Rico Aranda's wife, Idalia Ontiveros, spoke Wednesday morning, saying she's extremely grateful to everyone who has reached out and offered help during their unexpected setback.
"I thank God every day he's alive," she said. "He's doing so good...I know my husband, and he's strong. It's on up from here. He has a lot to live for."
Gilbert Police Sergeant Matthew Reale also spoke on behalf of Officer Aranda, saying he's an "exemplary officer and human being."
Sgt. Reale said he has a strong relationship with Aranda.
"For such a little person, Rico has an enormous personality," Sgt. Reale said. He continued on to say he's always willing to take on extra responsibilities, takes his job seriously, studies law, and is a "valiant protector of the constitution."
"Rico is a friend who loves to laugh and make others laugh. He's humble enough to admit when he doesn't know and courageous enough to ask for help," said Sgt. Reale.
"He wakes up and makes jokes," Idalia said. "He's so positive and knows he's going to be good. He's keeping me strong."
Idalia says Gilbert Police Department is his second family and he is looking forward to getting back to work.
"He says that you know it was unfortunate what happened but he wouldn't take back what he did, it's for the community and that's what he signed up for," said Ontiveros.
The official GoFundMe page for Aranda's family is close to reaching its $100,000 goal.
Idalia and Sgt. Reale both echoed that their thoughts are with the family of Chandler Police Officer Christopher Farrar, who was killed during the incident. Both officers were struck by a suspect who stole a vehicle during a pursuit in Gilbert late Thursday night.