Thousands Gather to Honor Police Officer Killed Hours Before Maternity Leave

"Kerrie enjoyed working with people in their moments of need," Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said

Photo: Omaha Police Department/AP

Thousands of mourners gathered on Tuesday to lay Omaha, Nebraska, police officer Kerrie Orozco to rest.

The new mom was shot and killed in the line of duty a week ago, just hours before she was due to start maternity leave. A member of the department’s gang unit, Orozco had been trying to arrest a man wanted for an earlier shooting when he opened fire on her, hitting the 29-year-old just above her protective vest, CBS News reports.

Hundreds of Orozco’s friends and family packed into the pews of St. John’s Church, with thousands more law enforcement officers and first responders watching a live feed of the funeral at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha.

“Kerrie enjoyed working with people in their moments of need and helping them,” Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said, according to KETV. “Orozco viewed herself as a guardian, as a friend of the community. She wanted to protect and be there for the city in times of need.”

He added: “It’s been a pleasure. Minus the tragic circumstances, I’m proud the entire nation got to know Kerrie.”

Orozco had postponed her maternity leave after her daughter Olivia Ruth was born prematurely in February. The baby girl was due to be released from the hospital the day after her mother was killed.

Thousands of people lined the streets along the funeral procession route, waving flags and carrying blue in Orozco’s memory. “This wasn’t just a police officer that died,” Debbie Colglazier, who stood in the cold rain to show her support for Orozco, told KETV. “This was an amazing woman.”

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