Fallen Officers


LeRoy Darst

Huntington Beach P.D.

Date of Birth: March 27, 1885
Date Appointed: October 8, 1928
End of Watch: October 12, 1928

On October 12, 1928, a rainy Friday morning, Officer W. L. Evans, a ten month member of the Force, and officer LeRoy Darst, with less than a week in police work, were driving South on Main Street approaching Crest Street en route to a reported traffic accident. The first rain of the season made driving treacherous, and as Officer Evans applied the brakes, the police car swerved across the street and collided with an oncoming car. Officer Darst was knocked unconscious and died from a skull fracture a short time later. LeRoy who was 43 years old, was survived by his wife, Helen.

California Police Officers’ Memorial Foundation


Ofc. Leslie J. Prince

Huntington Beach Police Department

Date of Birth: May 5, 1948
Date Appointed: September 1, 1970
End of Watch: December 1, 1974

At the time of his death, Leslie James Prince was a four-year veteran with this Department. He served as a uniformed patrol officer from 1970 until his death in 1974. He died at age 26, in the line of duty, after having been struck by a vehicle driven by a 26 year old male who was subsequently arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter.

Officer Prince and his partner were assigned to assist a traffic officer in traffic control at the intersection of Beach and Adams. There had been a power failure which caused the traffic signals at the intersection to malfunction. The intersection was dark as a result of a lack of illumination attributed to the power failure.

Shortly after his arrival, officer Prince took up a position in the intersection to direct traffic. Other officers were deployed at the intersection as well and the situation was well controlled.

After only a short period of time, Officer Prince was struck by a speeding pick-up truck which had entered the Intersection against the direction of another officer. Officer Prince was thrown onto the hood of the vehicle, carried for a distance and rolled into the street when the vehicle came to rest. Officer Prince was treated at the scene by paramedics and transported to Huntington Intercommunity Hospital. He sustained two broken legs, broken ribs, head injuries and other internal injuries.

Officer Prince was survived by his wife Linda, and infant child, along with his parents Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence Prince, and a brother and sister.

The Huntington Beach City Council and Recreation and Parks Commission memorialized the death of Officer Prince with the dedication of Les Prince Park on April 6, 1979.

California Police Officers’ Memorial Foundation


Ofc. Nicholas “Nick” Vella

Huntington Beach Police Department

Date of Birth: March 11, 1977
Date of Appointment: April 15, 2008
End of Watch: February 19, 2022

On February 19,2022, Officer Nicholas Vella became the third Huntington Beach Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty. Officer Vella was a 16 year police veteran. At 6:30pm, Officer Vella and Officer Garwood were responding to provide aerial support for the Newport Beach Police Department when it was reported their helicopter experienced a mechanical failure and crashed into Newport Harbor. Officer Vella later succumbed to his injuries. Officer Vella is survived by his wife Kristin and his daughter Dylan.