EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After a very tough year, Farmington police officer James O’Donnell didn’t think twice about attending the funeral of Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy.
DeMonte, 35, and Hamzy, 34, were both shot and killed in the line of duty on Oct. 12 while responding to a 911 call. A third officer, Officer Alec Iurato, 26, was also wounded during the shooting.
DeMonte and Hamzy’s joint funeral service was held on Friday, and thousands of people gathered from across the nation to say goodbye and pay their respects.
“Bristol actually went out of their way to help us when we were in a very difficult time. So we wanted to give back and show our support towards this department,” said O’Donnell’s wife, Kris.
In September of 2021, this father of two was pinned between a suspect’s stolen vehicle and his own cruiser after responding to a call about catalytic converter thefts.
He suffered multiple broken bones and surgeries.
“I was thinking about last year,” recalled Kris. “I can’t imagine what the families are going through.”
The emotional funeral and heartbroken eulogies hit very close to home.
“I was almost in a similar situation,” she expressed. “The community came out. The other law enforcement officers came out. They did a wonderful tribute.”
Kris believes that not everyone understands what it’s like to be an officer or the spouse of an officer. She hopes that attitudes toward the police will change.
“I think one or two acts can put a bad taste in people’s mouths. But if you aren’t seeing the outpouring of support and love for these police officers today, there may be a swing in the pendulum,” she said.
Just recently in September, Officer O’Donnell returned to work, greeted by his brothers and sisters in blue.
Kris said that those connected to a police department are like one big family, a family that sticks together.
“You know, I think one of the Hamzy sisters said it’s about love, compassion, giving back,” she noted. “They sacrifice themselves for public safety.”
Officer O’Donnell continues to do physical therapy several times a week.
Kris said the family is just starting to enjoy normal time together again but that it will still take a while for her husband to heal on an emotional level.