City says good-bye to fallen officer

September 12, 2008 7:04:43 AM PDT
The city of Philadelphia has begun saying good-bye to a police officer, killed in the line of duty.The large motorcade of officer Isabel Nazario's family, loved ones, and friends arrived by police escort late Thursday to the John Givnish Funeral Home in the northeast.

Members of her beloved strike force unit which she was devoted to marched in perfect formation to honor their fallen colleague. Commissioner Chuck Ramsey himself led a cadre of commanders and top brass on a three block trek on foot to the funeral home in keeping with a time honored tradition.

"She was well-liked by everybody and that's the absolute truth; she was a very dedicated mother who always talked about her daughter," Captain James Kelly of the Philadelphia Police said.

Colleagues say Nazario, who grew up in the 25th district, joined the department to make it a better place.

"She wanted to clean up the neighborhood so the kids could come out and play, that's our main objective was clearing up the corners, locking up the drug dealers so the kids could come out and play, so they could have a safe environment," Officer Chistopher Purnell said.

It was to that end, that Nazario gave her life. The 18-year veteran was killed last Friday, and her partner, Officer Terry Tull, was seriously injured, when a 16-year-old driving a stolen Cadillac Escalade slammed into their police cruiser. The suspect, Andre Butler, is being held on $5-million bail.

"We got a lot of violence on our streets and these are the men and women who are charged with the responsibilities of going after some very dangerous people and it's one of the consequences of that, but it still hurts every time you lose somebody," Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

Interestingly, her colleagues in the strike force wanted to serve as her honor guard, but they didn't have the proper training. However, Rookie Officer Ryan Sullivan, an Iraq War veteran, who served in President Reagan's honor guard does.

"I want to do anything in my power to honor Officer Nazario and anything in my power to train them and get them up to speed," Officer Sullivan said.

Speaking to Action News, Nazario's mother, Patricia Santiago, said her daughter is in heaven, she died doing her work, and was proud of what she was doing.

Nazario is the third Philadelphia police officer killed in the last ten months.

"What do you say, three officers in ten months. Chuck Cassidy, Steve Liczbinski, and now we have Officer Isabel Nazario," said John McNesby, F.O.P. President. "It just shows the traumatic way you can lose your life as a Philadelphia police officer these days, whether it's by gunfire, whether it's by auto accident. This is a senseless act."

In addition to her mother, Officer Nazario leaves behind a daughter and a fiance.

A second viewing for officer Nazario starts Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

It will be followed by a funeral mass at Noon.

The 16-year-old driver of the SUV that struck Nazario's police cruiser, Andre Butler, has been arrested and is being charged as an adult with third degree murder.

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