EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Members of law enforcement from around the country gathered Friday for a joint funeral for two Bristol officers who were shot to death in an apparent ambush.
The service for Lt. Dustin DeMonte, 35, and Sgt. Alex Hamzy, 34, was held at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
DeMonte, Hamzy, and Officer Alec Iurato, 26, were shot on Oct. 12 in what police believe was an ambush set up by a 911 call made by the suspected shooter. Iurato, who survived a gunshot wound to his leg, struggled to get behind a police cruiser and fired a single shot that killed the suspect.
Parts of major highways in the Hartford and New Haven areas were shut down as processions that included dozens of police motorcycles escorted the two officers’ bodies from funeral homes to the stadium.
Thousands of officers from across the country attended Friday’s service, standing together in solidarity.
“We might be from different towns, different states, and different parts of the nation, but we really are one family,” Officer Mark Juhola with the Killingly Police Department said.
“This is something that could happen anywhere, and our hearts are with Bristol,” Norwalk deputy chief Susan Zecca said.
Officers said they would not only do what they can to support Bristol police and the community through this difficult time but also support their own fellow officers who are facing the dangers on a daily basis.
“We all deal with the same types of calls, day in and day out,” Westfield, Massachusetts, police chief Lawrence Valliere said. “It gives you that awareness and brings you back to reality.”
Sgt. Greg Dube, of the New Hampshire State Police, said it was important to show support in large numbers after such a tragedy.
“We’re all family,” he said. “We definitely feel their pain. The best way we can show our respect is in strength in numbers. “I might not have met them, but I understand it could have easily happened to me or my colleagues. You just can’t take any day for granted.”
Officers in Rhode Island told WPRI that they attended to show the mourning families that they are never alone.
“It’s the least we can go as police officers and human beings to go out and represent our respective police departments and join together with their families and help pray for these officers,” Cranston Sgt. Peter LeClerc said.
Lt. Ernie Lucero, of the police department in Thornton, Colorado, said it was his first time in Connecticut.
“It’s important to show that this brotherhood and sisterhood of law enforcement are there and will be there all the time, no matter from where we come from,” he said. “Law enforcement as a whole, we are here together, even in these horrible times of despair.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.