POSTED: Friday, December 21, 2012 - 6:54pm
UPDATED: Monday, December 24, 2012 - 10:43am
EL PASO — Hundreds of family members, friends, and colleagues packed Corpus Christi Catholic Church to pay their last respects to El Paso Police Officer Angel Garcia.
Garcia died on Sunday when he was hit and killed by a car while trying to remove a ladder from the middle of I-10 near Hawkins.
Officer Garcia's burial was held at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Members of the United States Marine Corps carried Officer Garcia to his final resting place.
Sergeant Lawrence Lujan worked alongside Officer Garcia at the Mission Valley Regional Command and was on duty when Officer Garcia died.
"He was a fine example of a police officer, dedicated, always there to lend a hand and to set an example for others," said Lujan.
Officer Garcia sacrificed his life to ensure the public's safety, and fellow officers believe he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
"I've heard through family members that he wanted to be a police officer since the age of 5," said Lt. Gabriel Lucero with the El Paso Police Department.
Officer Garcia's family asked for privacy as they grieve his loss. At the funeral those family members appeared visibly upset.
"As shepherds we suffer, we hurt for our community and in this case, he suffered ultimately, but he wouldn't have wanted it another way, I think," said Lujan.
The community that Officer Garcia worked so hard to protect is now mourning his loss, and those who knew him are celebrating his life.
"It's one of the toughest things I've ever done as a police officer. He was a gift from God, a good police officer, a beautiful person," said Lucero.
"The bible teaches us that no greater demonstration of love is for a man to give his life for somebody else, and in this case, his life was lost to help others survive," said Lujan.
Police are still trying to determine who left the ladder on the freeway.
The El Paso Police Department is providing resources to help officers cope with Garcia's death.