Houston says final goodbye to arson investigator Lemuel 'DJ’ Bruce

A hero's legacy remembered
A hero's legacy remembered

HOUSTON – The memorial service for a Houston Fire Department arson investigator, Lemuel 'DJ’ Bruce, was held Thursday morning at Lakewood Church.

Flags and HFD apparatus trucks lined the streets surrounding Lakewood Church as fellow firefighters, family members and other loved ones and community members prepared to say goodbye to one of their own.

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The memorial service for a Houston Fire Department arson investigator, Lemuel Bruce, was held on Oct. 22, 2020, at Lakewood Church.

Among those scheduled to speak were Bruce’s brother-in-law, members of HFD as well as Fire Chief Sam Peña.

The 17-year-veteran of the Houston Fire Department was investigating a string of arsons Friday when he was shot and killed during a confrontation with a suspect. Peña said the loss has been incredibly difficult and that Bruce was an exceptional person and father.

“He was not only a husband and father but also a firefighter, EMT, Marine veteran and police officer,” Peña said. “The guy is a professional and extraordinary individual so it’s a sad loss of life, but we are here with his family to lift them up and support them.”

“DJ, you’re loved. You will be missed, but not forgotten," Marc Rio, Bruce’s brother-in-law, said at the memorial service. “My brother had a servant heart ... and you knew it. He was always willing to help anyone.”

Rio and several others talked about Bruce’s quick-witted personality, his love for movies, trivia, bee-keeping and whiskey. They also spoke of Bruce’s steadfast work ethic and drive.

“DJ was the kind of individual that if you told him he couldn’t do something, he was going to prove you wrong. That was the ultimate deal for him. If you told him he couldn’t do something. he was going to prove you wrong and perfect it and do it better," Rio said.

His colleagues spoke of his thoroughness and his ability to teach and make the department operate with better resources.

“Bruce developed into a fantastic investigator, the type that I would want to have working a case if it were my home, my car that was burned,” said Chris Simonton, HFD Senior Investigator. “There was no investigation that he wouldn’t follow.”

Many talked about how Bruce married the love of his life, Rachel and had two children, Grayson and Sydney, whom he loved very much.

“He loved and lived for his family ... Rachel, You’ve gained 3,500 brothers and sister. Grayson and Syd you’ve gained 3,500 uncles and aunts," HFD Chaplain Bobby Delgado said.

Honor presentations were done by the Houston Fire Department Honor Guard, Houston Police and the United States Marine Corp.

Bruce’s colleagues said he was a very unique and special investigator who will be forever remembered.

“You’re better because of Bruce. He just had that you know he motivated people he inspired people, and everywhere he went. He made things better,” Rio said.

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