Pittsburgh Honors Fallen Heroes At Petersen Center Service
Thousands Of Police Officers Show Respect For 3 Killed In Line Of Duty
POSTED: 8:18 am EDT April 9,
PITTSBURGH -- President Barack Obama sent a condolence letter and two injured officers received standing ovations from thousands of law enforcement brothers and sisters Thursday at a memorial service honoring Pittsburgh's three police officers killed in the line of duty. Officers Paul Sciullo II, Stephen Mayhle and Eric Kelly died as they lived -- serving and protecting -- and Pittsburghers can best honor them by treating each other the same way, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said."Our three fallen heroes, their actions and their sacrifice define what it means to be an officer," Ravenstahl said. "And to all who were on scene that fateful morning, I am in awe of you. Pittsburgh is in awe of you."
VIDEO: Ravenstahl Salutes Fallen OfficersThe tributes continued at Thursday night's Penguins game. The game against the New York Islanders began with a moment of silence for the city's three fallen officers. The local police honor guard took part in the national anthem ceremonies as well.All of the Pens players wore special T-shirts under their jerseys, honoring the Zone 5 officers. VIDEO: See The Pens Tribute
(See Slideshow Photos)
Meanwhile, three U.S. Army Apache helicopters flew over the Petersen Center and the rest of the city to honor the officers, who were shot Saturday when a gunman opened fire during a Stanton Heights domestic call.
Thousands Attend Memorial ServiceInside the arena, Assistant Chief William Bochter asked the assembled crowd from all over the country to recognize Officers Timothy McManaway, who stood, and Brian Jones, sitting in a wheelchair. Both survived last week's fatal rampage with a gunshot wound to the hand and a broken leg, respectively. Their co-workers from the Zone 5 police station, all seated together, were also applauded.
VIDEO: See The McManaway/Jones Video
As pallbearers carried the three fallen officers' caskets inside the center, they were saluted by hundreds of officers from various police departments, who had lined up outside and stood at attention for nearly two hours."This shows the support for policing in the community, and brothers supporting brothers. It doesn't surprise me, the support here," said Officer Stephen Carpenter, of the Toronto Police Service. He drove five hours with co-workers to be in attendance.
Kelly's, Sciullo's and Mayhle's names -- along with images of city police badges -- were constantly scrolled across an electronic scoreboard that circles the inside of the arena, while a family member and a religious representative for each family were asked to speak. City Police Spokeswoman Diane Richard -- speaking for the family of Kelly, a 14-year veteran and the most senior officer killed -- read a letter that was sent by Obama and his wife, Michelle."Our nation is grateful for the dedication, pride and service of those who risk their lives to ensure the safety of our citizens and our neighbors, and we share your loss," the letter said, in part. "Officer Kelly and his fellow officers were taken from us far too soon, and their loss reminds us that the work to which they were dedicated -- and ultimately gave their lives -- remains undone."
VIDEO: See The Entire Obama Letter-ReadingThe Rev. Lorraine Williams, of Stanton Heights United Methodist Church, was one of Kelly's speakers."In his final words, he said tell my wife and children, 'I love them.' He was a family man and a community man. He leaves a legacy of love and trust," Williams said.Sciullo was represented by his nephew, Steve, who became emotional toward the end of his speech."If the world was made up of people like Paul, the world would be a much better place," said Steve Sciullo.The Rev. Dan Mayhle, speaking for his fallen uncle, offered condolences to Stephen Mayhle's wife and his hope that her heart will heal and their babies will remember their father.
Following the service, another procession took the slain officers on one final ride through the neighborhood they once patrolled.Pausing for a moment outside the Zone 5 station, the funeral procession split off onto three separate paths, each hearse destined for the officers' respective burial places.
VIDEO: Final Ride, Plus WTAE's Closing MontageCrews had worked all week to prepare "The Pete," which normally hosts sporting events like Pitt basketball games. Around 1,000 chairs were added on the arena floor, expanding capacity to about 14,000 seats.FBI Director Robert Mueller, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala and Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Gov. Ed Rendell, state Attorney General Tom Corbett, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney were among the dignitaries in attendance.Also there was Corey O'Connor, son of the late Mayor Bob O'Connor, who died of cancer in office in 2006. The city held a procession with police escorts on the day of the mayor's funeral, similar to today's processional. County offices and courts were closed for the afternoon, and some county judges -- including David Cashman and Ed Borkowski -- used that time off to pay their respects at the service.
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