LOWER BURRELL, Pa.,None - Hundreds turned out Monday at the funeral for a Lower Burrell police officer who was killed by a shooting suspect last week.
Funeral services were held Monday at Mount St. Peter Church in New Kensington for Officer Derek Kotecki, a husband and father of two.
The Lower Burrell police officer was gunned down in a Dairy Queen parking lot by a man who had been wanted for an alleged shooting, police said.
Charlie Post died during the subsequent exchange of gunfire with police, although authorities haven't determined if the shot that killed him was self-inflicted.
On Sunday, a candlelight vigil was held in memory of Kotecki. His family was there, and they thanked all those who have shown their support over the past several days.
Kotecki's children and fellow officers left the funeral home to greet those who came out to show their support.
Earlier in the evening, officers took part in a Fraternal Order of Police memorial as officer Kotecki's patrol car sat parked outside the funeral home with its lights flashing.
First responders also paid their respects to the fallen officer with a flyover by two helicopters.
A procession left the funeral home at 9:30 a.m. and headed towards the Mount St. Peter Catholic Church in New Kensington.
Neighbors in Lower Burrell honored Kotecki by tying ribbons along the funeral route. A local business made more than 120 blue and black ribbons that now line Leechburg Road.
A memorial fund has been set up at S&T Bank.
Donations can be sent to the bank at the following address:4251 Old William Penn Highway Murrysville, PA 15668Checks can be made payable to the "Derek Kotecki Memorial Fund.”
Family, friends and colleagues also gathered Saturday to pay tribute to Kotecki.
Just after his visitation began, an officer brought Kotecki’s car, and two black ribbons were placed on it. The car sat outside of the funeral home all day.
Devan Middleby said Kotecki was well-known at Lower Burrell High School.
“He was a really good police officer,” Middleby said. “He came every morning.”
Ann Neusch had never met Kotecki, but said she knew she had to come.
“Everyone in Lower Burrell feels this,” Neusch said. “I felt it too. I felt like I had to come.”
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley showed up to pay his respects.
“When we lose a hero like Derek in the line of duty, it is incumbent on us to show our respect to his memory,” Cawley said. “We have to try to offer some healing comfort to the family.”
The community has already come together to support the Kotecki family. There have already been boot drives, and other fundraisers are being planned.
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