Thousands Pay Respects From Omaha, Council Bluffs And Across America
The streets of the metro were flanked in blue as Officer Kerrie Orozco's funeral procession began to make its way from St. John's Church to St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Council Bluffs.
Small pockets of people grew to a crowd of thousands as the morning wore on and the procession drew near. The motorcade rolled down Douglas Street as thousands lined up along the curb, many waving American flags.
"I'm proud that the citizens of Omaha and Council Bluffs and all across the nation have come together to support her," said Carolyn Robison of Council Bluffs.
"She can look down on us and know that we're here for her and she might not know me, I don't even really know her, but it's for the fact of giving the final goodbye right here," said Heather Bednar of Council Bluffs.
Vanessa McCoy of Council Bluffs said it was important for kids to see this. "They needed to be here to know how to honor and support our troops and our cops."
"It's been a hard week, I just can't believe she is gone," said Cheryl Cox, a neighbor of Orozco.
"She lost her life protecting the city, it's the kids who need to see this, they need to know what police officers do," said Ann Perl.
"Their uncle is on the Omaha Fire Department and we just feel that could be one of our boys, that's why we came, to show our respect," said Dale Brickell.
"I'm from La Vista and my son is from South Dakota, he used to be an Omaha Fireman and paramedic and he couldn't make it so I told him son, I will come out and represent you and Yankton," said Mike Villanueva. "It just hit close to home. She's gonna be up with the Lord up there, so she'll be in a good place."
There were 453 cruisers in the procession as it made its way across the river. Day care students shouted, "Thanks for all you do" to law enforcement as they drove by.
"It's amazing," said Amie Abbott, wife of a Bellevue police officer, who hoped the officer's family is comforted by all the support. "I just think having that support is one of the only ways you can make it through today. I can't imagine being in their shoes, so I'm just here to support."
"It's going to be bittersweet seeing her come down the road, but this is what you do," said Jennifer Heywood.
One parent explained the gravity of what they were witnessing. "Just on the way down here we had that whole lesson on tragedy and all that stuff," said Tony Gramazio. "And I think it is good for them to be able to experience. And hopefully we can make a bad situation a good learning experience. As a citizen, they are here to protect us and to serve us and it's the least that we can do to show our respect."
Police on horseback, the sound of bagpipes, flashing red and blue lights were among the sights and sounds as the procession entered the cemetery, then silence as family and police officers assembled around the grave site.
The rain that one officer referred to as "the tears of God" returned as Kerrie Orozco approached her final resting place. The day of mourning and remembrance came to a close with a brief graveside ceremony in a sea of blue that included law enforcement officers from around the country.
"It's a tragedy," said San Francisco Police Officer Joshua Fry, an Omaha native. "She leaves behind a husband, children, a brand new baby. We're all very sad. There's definitely a brother and sisterhood in law enforcement and all first responders, EMS, medics and when one of us is injured or killed, I think it's very important to come together to show support for the family."
"We're all saddened by the loss, we all feel the pain and we're all here together to support each other and make sure that everyone knows that if one of us goes down we're all here together," said Las Vegas Sheriff's Deputy Chief Al Salina.
"We've lost officers in Minnesota in the last few months, you know it happens up there, happens everywhere, an incredible show of support from law enforcement officers nationwide," said St. Paul, Minnesota Police Officer Mark Nelson.
"It's just us showing our support for the sacrifice she gave and letting her family know that we will continue to be their family now that she's gone," said Kansas City Police Sgt. Sandra Zink.
“Look around, this is our answer here,” said Maryland Heights, Missouri Police Officer Michelle Skaggs. "It's a brotherhood and sisterhood. We drove six hours to be here. We didn't know Kerrie, but we knew her as a professional."
"When the pipes play and the trumpets play, it brings the flood of emotions back. So it's very touching," said Denver Police Officer Dan McNulty.
Chicago Police Officer Rick Cabellero formed Brother For The Fallen, a commitment to attend funerals of officers killed in the line of duty. "I've been to about 20 funerals in the country and I have to say this is the biggest turnout I've seen of a community coming together."
"If one falls, we all feel dead, that kind of impact," said Davenport, Iowa Police Sgt. Eric Gruenhagen.