News

Sheriff's deputy from Danville, Oscar Rocha, dies from COVID-19

'He put up a courageous fight to the end and will never be forgotten'

Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Oscar Rocha died from COVID-19 complications at a Walnut Creek hospital on July 23. (Photo courtesy of ACSO)

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is mourning Deputy Oscar Rocha, a nearly 25-year department veteran from Danville who died on Thursday evening from complications caused by COVID-19.

The sheriff's office confirmed "with tremendous sadness" late Thursday night on social media that Rocha died at 6:45 p.m. "He put up a courageous fight to the end and will never be forgotten. May he rest in eternal peace. EOW 7/23/20," officials said.

ACSO personnel including Sheriff Gregory Ahern, as well as other law enforcement agencies' officers, saluted as Rocha's body was transferred from the hospital to the coroner's van on Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of ACSO)

The news came about two weeks after the sheriff's office revealed Rocha was hospitalized in the intensive care unit with a life-threatening case of COVID-19, sharing a photograph of the deputy's hand holding another in the hospital bed and offering a message of support for their colleague.

The 57-year-old Tri-Valley native, who spent the better part of a month in the ICU at John Muir Medical Center, is the first member of the ACSO to die from COVID-19, according to Sgt. Tya M. Modeste. His wife Maureen Ennor Rocha was also hospitalized because of the virus but has recovered.

"He was a well-known deputy, well-liked," said Modeste, who worked alongside Rocha earlier in her career.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support DanvilleSanRamon.com for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

"He was a really hard worker. He loved being a deputy-sheriff," the sergeant added. "He was very passionate about the work that we do, and that people were doing the job the way they were supposed to do."

Deputy Oscar Rocha. (Photo courtesy of ACSO)

Rocha had been assigned to the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland but he had been working shifts at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin under mandatory overtime for deputies due to staffing levels. Modeste said it's "highly probable" that Rocha became infected while working at the jail, likely in the late-May timeframe.

"We do believe that is where he contracted it … His passing is being considered in line of duty," the sergeant said.

Personnel from the ACSO, including Sheriff Gregory Ahern, and other allied agencies saluted Rocha as his body, draped in the USA flag, was wheeled on a gurney through the ambulance bay at John Muir Medical Center on Thursday night, Modeste said. A procession of law enforcement vehicles nearly a mile long followed behind as his body was transported from Walnut Creek to his department's coroner's bureau in Oakland.

Plans are in the works to potentially livestream Rocha's memorial service and offer a traditional final salute with social distancing, according to the sergeant.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Flags at the State Capitol in Sacramento will be flown at half-staff to honor Rocha as well as Los Angeles Police Department Officer Valentin Martinez, 45, who died Friday from COVID-19, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

"The deaths of these two heroes is a very real and painful reminder of the risks these men and women face every single day protecting the people of California. Jennifer and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Deputy Rocha and Officer Martinez as they grapple with these tremendous losses," Newsom said in a statement Saturday.

Condolences, remembrances and well wishes have poured into the ACSO since Rocha's death, Modeste said. Many have been shared on social media, too.

A look down at law enforcement saluting Rocha's body. (Photo courtesy of ACSO)

"Our hearts are heavy today with the news Deputy Oscar Rocha has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rocha family. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace," Dublin Police Services wrote on Twitter.

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston tweeted, "My sympathies and condolences to the family and colleagues of Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Oscar Rocha who passed away last night from COVID-19 complications. Thank you for your service."

"Our thoughts today are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Alameda County Sheriff‘s Deputy Oscar Rocha," the town of Danville account tweeted.

Rocha is survived by his wife Maureen Ennor Rocha, his son Alexander Rocha, stepchildren Haley and Patrick Urbanus, and his parents Oscar and Rosario Rocha.

Rocha and his wife knew each other since they were 14 years old but married later in life. They graduated from California High School in San Ramon.

Rocha worked for the sheriff's office since graduating from the police academy in 1996, according to Modeste. He worked in the detention/corrections and court services division, as well as formally served in the now-defunct marshal's unit.

The sergeant remembered her colleague as a happy family man who "never became jaded" by the hard work in courtrooms often presiding over difficult cases such as murders or sexual assaults.

"He was a calm-spirited kind of guy," Modeste said.

His wife reported they were adhering to shelter-in-place restrictions, wearing personal protective equipment and responding only to and from work, which made the initial COVID-19 diagnosis even more distressing, according to Modeste. Maureen Ennor Rocha was hospitalized for 10 days because of the virus and has recovered.

Like many of those who knew Rocha, Modeste said she is coming to terms with his death amid the pandemic.

"It's surreal. I stayed up all night last night," she said. "It's shocking, and it brings COVID-19 a little more into the real … having a person you know (die) brings a different type of realness to it."

ACSO personnel salute Rocha on Thursday night. (Photo courtesy of ACSO)

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

Follow DanvilleSanRamon.com on Twitter @DanvilleSanRamo, Facebook and on Instagram @ for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Sheriff's deputy from Danville, Oscar Rocha, dies from COVID-19

'He put up a courageous fight to the end and will never be forgotten'

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 7:15 pm
Updated: Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 4:38 pm

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office is mourning Deputy Oscar Rocha, a nearly 25-year department veteran from Danville who died on Thursday evening from complications caused by COVID-19.

The sheriff's office confirmed "with tremendous sadness" late Thursday night on social media that Rocha died at 6:45 p.m. "He put up a courageous fight to the end and will never be forgotten. May he rest in eternal peace. EOW 7/23/20," officials said.

The news came about two weeks after the sheriff's office revealed Rocha was hospitalized in the intensive care unit with a life-threatening case of COVID-19, sharing a photograph of the deputy's hand holding another in the hospital bed and offering a message of support for their colleague.

The 57-year-old Tri-Valley native, who spent the better part of a month in the ICU at John Muir Medical Center, is the first member of the ACSO to die from COVID-19, according to Sgt. Tya M. Modeste. His wife Maureen Ennor Rocha was also hospitalized because of the virus but has recovered.

"He was a well-known deputy, well-liked," said Modeste, who worked alongside Rocha earlier in her career.

"He was a really hard worker. He loved being a deputy-sheriff," the sergeant added. "He was very passionate about the work that we do, and that people were doing the job the way they were supposed to do."

Rocha had been assigned to the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland but he had been working shifts at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin under mandatory overtime for deputies due to staffing levels. Modeste said it's "highly probable" that Rocha became infected while working at the jail, likely in the late-May timeframe.

"We do believe that is where he contracted it … His passing is being considered in line of duty," the sergeant said.

Personnel from the ACSO, including Sheriff Gregory Ahern, and other allied agencies saluted Rocha as his body, draped in the USA flag, was wheeled on a gurney through the ambulance bay at John Muir Medical Center on Thursday night, Modeste said. A procession of law enforcement vehicles nearly a mile long followed behind as his body was transported from Walnut Creek to his department's coroner's bureau in Oakland.

Plans are in the works to potentially livestream Rocha's memorial service and offer a traditional final salute with social distancing, according to the sergeant.

Flags at the State Capitol in Sacramento will be flown at half-staff to honor Rocha as well as Los Angeles Police Department Officer Valentin Martinez, 45, who died Friday from COVID-19, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

"The deaths of these two heroes is a very real and painful reminder of the risks these men and women face every single day protecting the people of California. Jennifer and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Deputy Rocha and Officer Martinez as they grapple with these tremendous losses," Newsom said in a statement Saturday.

Condolences, remembrances and well wishes have poured into the ACSO since Rocha's death, Modeste said. Many have been shared on social media, too.

"Our hearts are heavy today with the news Deputy Oscar Rocha has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rocha family. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace," Dublin Police Services wrote on Twitter.

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston tweeted, "My sympathies and condolences to the family and colleagues of Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Oscar Rocha who passed away last night from COVID-19 complications. Thank you for your service."

"Our thoughts today are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Alameda County Sheriff‘s Deputy Oscar Rocha," the town of Danville account tweeted.

Rocha is survived by his wife Maureen Ennor Rocha, his son Alexander Rocha, stepchildren Haley and Patrick Urbanus, and his parents Oscar and Rosario Rocha.

Rocha and his wife knew each other since they were 14 years old but married later in life. They graduated from California High School in San Ramon.

Rocha worked for the sheriff's office since graduating from the police academy in 1996, according to Modeste. He worked in the detention/corrections and court services division, as well as formally served in the now-defunct marshal's unit.

The sergeant remembered her colleague as a happy family man who "never became jaded" by the hard work in courtrooms often presiding over difficult cases such as murders or sexual assaults.

"He was a calm-spirited kind of guy," Modeste said.

His wife reported they were adhering to shelter-in-place restrictions, wearing personal protective equipment and responding only to and from work, which made the initial COVID-19 diagnosis even more distressing, according to Modeste. Maureen Ennor Rocha was hospitalized for 10 days because of the virus and has recovered.

Like many of those who knew Rocha, Modeste said she is coming to terms with his death amid the pandemic.

"It's surreal. I stayed up all night last night," she said. "It's shocking, and it brings COVID-19 a little more into the real … having a person you know (die) brings a different type of realness to it."

Comments

Allyson Pesce
San Ramon
on Jul 25, 2020 at 3:02 pm
Allyson Pesce, San Ramon
on Jul 25, 2020 at 3:02 pm
11 people like this

I wish the Rocha family love and peace during this difficult time. I pray to god that the truth and honor of Oscar will be carried on forever. Knowing the Rocha family my entire life, I can say without a doubt what an incredible family man Oscar was. Such a great loss to this world. God bless.


Mary Jo
another community
on Jul 26, 2020 at 6:14 pm
Mary Jo, another community
on Jul 26, 2020 at 6:14 pm
9 people like this

Whoa, I’m so sad to see that there is so much discord between families. May
Mr. Rocha Rest In Peace always and thank you for your servIce Deputy Rocha.


Nick
Danville
on Jul 26, 2020 at 11:07 pm
Nick, Danville
on Jul 26, 2020 at 11:07 pm
1 person likes this

sad, but can you tell us what illnesses he as suffering from prior so we don't all panic that perfectly healthy people can die from this... assuming he was vented? That's problem #1


Kjgamble
San Ramon
on Jul 27, 2020 at 7:34 am
Kjgamble, San Ramon
on Jul 27, 2020 at 7:34 am
11 people like this

To my knowledge there were no preexisting conditions. He told me he was feeling sick but not bedridden, and that the cough was most annoying. This was right before he was admitted. Oscar ended up calling 911 himself. He held out going to the hospital way too long. That’s what happened. Otherwise he was in decent shape and healthy so far as I’m aware.


Observer
another community
on Jul 27, 2020 at 6:17 pm
Observer , another community
on Jul 27, 2020 at 6:17 pm
16 people like this

I thought it was strange how excited Maureen got to be on tv and how elated her posts became every time a reporter mentioned her on the internet or tv. She used to work in radio and when I saw her giving an interview I thought this woman is just eating all this up because she likes being in the public eye. That was my impression and now I’m reading all these posts saying she’s a narcissist. Totally makes sense. God rest your soul Oscar, I’m So sorry this happened to you.


Reader
Danville
on Jul 27, 2020 at 6:46 pm
Reader, Danville
on Jul 27, 2020 at 6:46 pm
6 people like this

@Nick. Perfectly healthy people CAN die of COVID. Wear your mask and use good judgement.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.