BOULDER, Colo (NewsNation Now) — Friends, family, and fellow police officers honored fallen Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley during his funeral Tuesday.
He was among the ten people shot and killed at a Colorado supermarket last week.
The program for the ceremony included a poem written by Talley’s seven children for Christmas 2019, called “Our Unsung Hero.” It praises Talley for doing whatever they ask of him and risking his life. It ends with a line asking for his protection: “May God bless and protect you/And bring you home each day.”
The service is open to the public, but attendance in the church’s auditorium, which normally holds up to 4,200 people, is restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic. The events were livestreamed by local television stations including NewsNation affiliate KDVR.
A day earlier, a Roman Catholic Mass conducted in Latin was celebrated for Talley at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, where Archbishop Samuel Aquila said Talley sacrificed his life and showed what is best about police officers, whom he said are too often “taken for granted.”
More than 500 law enforcement vehicles took part in a procession Tuesday morning that escorted the hearse carrying Officer Eric Talley’s body to the service at Flatirons Community Church in the city of Lafayette. A line of officers waited for Talley’s flag-draped casket to arrive, then his family followed it inside the church, escorted by police.
Members of Colorado police and fire departments walked in playing bagpipes at the end of a long procession of mourners, including officers from across the U.S.
“In one particular moment in time you always need the police, you need someone to support you as well and we need to show them the support,” said Angela Stephens who was holding a Thin Blue Line flag during the procession.
“They are truly putting their lives on the line, and their family members, that others don’t realize what they are doing every day when they put their uniform on and get into that car because they don’t know what they are going to come up against,” she said.
Stephens said it is only right for citizens to honor fallen police officers. And she is leading by example, she flew in from Kansas City just to be on this road, holding the American flag, to honor Officer Eric Talley, Boulder Police Department.
The church is about 10 miles east of Boulder where Talley, 51, and nine other people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store on March 22.
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, who was wounded in the leg, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder over shots fired at another officer. Prosecutors expect to file more charges as the investigation progresses.
One of Alissa’s public defenders told a judge during his first court appearance that they needed to assess Alissa’s mental illness but did not provide details about his condition.
His next court hearing will be May 25. His attorneys asked for at least two months before returning to court so they could evaluate his condition and review evidence from investigators.
NewsNation affiliate KDVR and The Associated Press contributed to this reporting