Wife of fallen Fresno CHP Officer Brian Law shares fond memories

The Fresno BeeFebruary 20, 2014 

Rebecca Law's last memories of her husband were goodbye hugs -- his arms around each of their children, ages 2 to 10, and one for her, too.

Suited up for his overnight shift with the California Highway Patrol, Officer Brian Mitchio Law walked out the door of their Clovis home Sunday night for the last time.

Shortly before 6 a.m. Monday, he and Officer Juan Jaime Gonzalez -- his CHP partner and good friend -- were killed when their patrol car crashed on Highway 99 near Kingsburg. The two officers were responding to a traffic accident, and Officer Gonzalez swerved to avoid vehicles at the crash scene.

Thursday evening, Brian Law's wife recalled the man she loved so dearly.

The former Marine, Air Force reservist and Buchanan High School student had been a CHP officer for six years. He loved his job, but it never consumed him, Rebecca Law said.

"He worked so hard for us," she said. "Family was everything to him."

About a year ago, he transferred from the Oakland CHP office to Fresno so he could spend more time with his 9-year-old son, Brandon. He shared joint custody of his son, who lives in the Fresno area. Officer Law didn't mind that he got bumped to the 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, four days a week. Seeing Brandon was more important.

"His time off -- that was our family time," Rebecca Law said, "and those were the times that were important to us."

He loved to take the family boating on his "pride and joy," a used speed boat, and spoil them with his barbecuing -- serving delicious tri-tip.

And Brian Law was practical. His wife loved to tease him about a Christmas present he bought her early on in their relationship -- an "Ove Glove" to protect her hands while cooking, since they barbecued so much. She was "mortified."

But terrible gift-giving aside, her husband always had her back -- and she had his. Rebecca Law, a former Sacramento cop, met Brian Law while they were in the Air Force.

The couple was two weeks away from opening a kick-boxing studio for women in north Fresno -- Fightgirl Fitness on Blackstone Avenue -- when Brian Law was killed.

He was putting his "heart and soul" into the project, she said, and took pride in helping her renovate the studio, happily doing things like tiling the floors.

"That's the type of supportive husband he was. I had this crazy idea and he got on board and just supported me to the end. ... We worked as a team."

Off the clock, Officer Law also loved sports. He was a "die-hard" San Francisco 49ers football fan -- so much that their younger daughter's baby shower was 49ers-themed. But when his beloved 49ers weren't playing, he was so laid-back and easy-going that he liked to root for any team, Rebecca Law recalled with a laugh.

"He would walk into a room full of strangers and make friends with all of them. I don't think he has a single enemy."

Officer Law, born in Redwood City, went to high school in the Sacramento area before attending Buchanan High for a short time.

The outpouring of support from his friends has been a great comfort to Rebecca Law this week. His fellow CHP officers were his family, she said.

"They were like his brothers and sisters ... They really were, because his family was separated from the time he was little, and he really looked to his friends to be his family, and all his friends were CHP."

While her husband's death is tragic, Rebecca Law said she finds comfort in some of the circumstances: "To be on duty, to be working for the CHP. To go in an honorable manner."

The afternoon before he left for his last shift with the CHP, she watched as he walked their three children to a nearby park to play. She was proud of her husband.

"I was always proud of Brian. I was thankful to have such a good man and such a good father."

Brian Mitchio Law

Age: 34

Born: July 2, 1979

Died: Feb. 17, 2014

Occupation: California Highway Patrol officer

Surviving family: Wife Rebecca Law of Clovis; stepdaughter Lauren, son Brandon and daughter Samantha; father Denis Law of Texas; mother Judy Doty of Oregon; and sister Carol Law-Stetson of Oregon

Service: A joint memorial service for Officer Law and CHP Officer Juan Jaime Gonzalez will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Save Mart Center, 2650 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386, cgeorge@fresnobee.com or @CarmenGeorge on Twitter.

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