Hundreds attend funeral for slain Pa. officer

Pictured: Officer Robert Lasso, who was killed during a shooting in Freemansburg, Pa. on August 11, 2011. Image from WFMZ-TV.
August 16, 2011 5:35:13 PM PDT
Law enforcement officials from across the region joined family members and residents to mourn the death of a Pennsylvania police officer killed in the line of duty last week.

A private funeral service was held Tuesday morning for Freemansburg police Officer Robert Lasso. A police motorcade then drove through crowd-lined streets in Freemansburg as the coffin was escorted to Northampton County Community College for a public service.

Inside the Spartan Center, hundreds gathered to pay their respects to Lasso. They heard stories about his life that painted a picture of a loving father, good friend, and respectful officer.

His chief who hired him seven years ago and was with him when he was killed described Lasso as a respectful, good officer.

"He was reliable and genuine. What you saw is what you get with Robert," Freemansburg Police Chief George Bruneio said.

The 31-year-old Lasso was one of only 12 officers on the Freemansburg Borough force. He was described as a tough cop when it came to bad guys but a humble teddy bear of a guy when in came to helping others.

"He worked at the St. Theresa's School. He would volunteer, he would sell milk. A lot of the children know him and they are going to miss him," family friend Dawn Parker said.

Lasso also seemed to know when to use his discretion.

Councilman Justin LaBar recalled the story of when Lasso stopped him for speeding, but let him off with a warning.

"He was a good guy," LaBar said.

"Robert died a hero doing what came naturally to him, protecting and serving," Reverend Richard Teitsworth said at the funeral.

The roughly hour-long ceremony ended as bagpipes, and an honor guard, escorted Lasso's body to a waiting hearse. .

A few steps behind walked Lasso's widow Jennifer. Officer Lasso also leaves behind two small children.

He was then honored with a 21-gun salute, and a performance of taps

Lasso was shot in the head while investigating a domestic disturbance report. 46-year-old George Hitcho Jr. is charged in his death.

Hitcho allegedly fired on Lasso after the officer pointed a stun gun at the suspect's dogs. He is being held without bail at Northampton County Prison.

An education fund has been set up through a Sovereign Bank in Bethlehem.

One friend said Tuesday, Robert helped so many people in this community; it's time they step up for his family.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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