‘You were everything’: Kind words, rubber ducks serve as tributes to Md. parole officer killed in line of duty

Parole agent tribute

A funeral service was held Saturday for Maryland parole officer Davis Martinez, who was killed while conducting a routine resident check in Chevy Chase in May.

Following an opening prayer at the service held at the International Christian Church in Silver Spring, Martinez’s girlfriend, Gypsy Barrientos, read a letter addressed to Martinez.

“When people asked me to describe you in one word, I told them that you were everything. Everything that everybody could have ever wanted in a son, a brother, a friend and a lover,” Barrientos said. “When they told me that you went to a better place, I let them know: Davis doesn’t go to better places, he makes places better. It’s evident in every memory that I have with you.”

Barrientos said she received a message from one of Martinez’s old parolees following his death, describing Martinez as selfless, caring and patient.

Michael Martinez — Davis’ younger brother — also spoke at the funeral. He said his brother was always his biggest cheerleader and shared personal stories of their relationship.

“When I felt alone, Davis was there,” Michael said. “Davis’ reassurance made me realize that there was nothing to fear, especially with him by your side.”

One of the final stories Michael told at the podium was about one of Martinez’s most prized possessions — his Jeep.

“The first hour of officially owning his Jeep, someone with a gorgeous cherry-colored Jeep Wrangler flashed his headlights and gave us the peace sign,” Michael said. “Davis, with me as a passenger, returned the favor and we just looked at each other and laughed. Davis then said, ‘I love belonging to this community.'”

Barrientos reached out to the Maryland Jeep Club, explaining Davis’s love for his car.

In the message, she said that Martinez got so excited when someone would leave a rubber duck on his Jeep, which is popular among Jeep owners.

Members of the Maryland Jeep Club left rubber ducks on Davis Martinez’s jeep that was parked at Living Word International Christian Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Courtesy Richie Alexander)

Also on Saturday, the Maryland Jeep Club and their members met in Frederick at Harry Grove Stadium and rode together to the funeral before following Martinez’s family to the cemetery.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore also spoke at the ceremony, affirming his administration’s support for public servants.

“I stand before you humbly, not just as your Governor, but as a fellow Marylander, to say that we are committed to turning this pain into purpose,” Moore said. “We are committed to making this better and making it right. And we will continue to honor Davis’ memory. And we will make it right in his honor.”

Earlier this month, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3661 (AFSCME), the union Martinez was a member of, held a rally calling for improved safety protocols, safer staffing levels and accountability from state leaders.

They said that for a year before Martinez’s murder, probation and parole staff who are members of Local 3661 made at least six attempts to resolve their safety concerns with management at the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) and the Division of Parole and Probation (DPP).

WTOP’s Jimmy Alexander contributed to this story.

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Grace Newton

Grace Newton is an Associate Producer at WTOP. She also works as an associate producer for NPR Newscast. Grace was born and raised in North Carolina but has lived in D.C. since 2018. Grace graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in art history in 2022.

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