A copper was buried today. Quietly. Only family, friends, and those police officers who knew him.
A sergeant who knew him from the early days, wondered why the order for a full honors burial never came out. He hastily arranged for two escort vehicles and a handful of officers to show up at the funeral home for an impromptu honor guard to show the family the respect that was due to their loved one.
The man was a hero. An apparently unsung one but a hero none the less.
A few years ago, the officer was working in a high crime district helping to train a young recruit. While patrolling late one night they came upon a car parked near an industrial area. The man in the car was alone. He had a newspaper in his lap. The officers sensed no danger.
Both officers came up on the same side, realizing the error, the veteran copper waved back the younger officer and approached the driver.
The man stepped from the car but kept the newspaper over his hand. Now aware of the danger, the copper lunged for the man as a nine shot .22 revolver came into view. He grabbed for the gun hand as the offender fired. Four bullets entered under the officers body armor into the officers torso. The officer fell away injured and bleeding.
The man then turned and fired three more shots at the young recruit a few feet away. Struck in the vest, belly, and belt buckle the young copper was able to draw his weapon and fire several times, killing the assailant.
Severely injured, the veteran copper was rushed to the trauma center. He survived the attack.
Coppers know how much damage a .22 slug can do at close range. Even after months of rehab it was determined that the officer would no longer be able to carry out his police duties. He was retired on disability.
Still a young man, he struggled to live his life to the fullest.
He died quietly, a hero.
He was buried quietly, without the honors due him for his sacrifice.