Family, friends honor fallen officer

PHILADELPHIA - September 7, 2008 Two dozen motorcycles escorted police vans carrying grieving relatives to the place where Officer Isabel Nazario was mortally wounded in a car crash Friday night.

Today, her family held a prayer vigil. Her mother wanted to visit the place her daughter last lived as she knew her.

"She in heaven now. She died doing her work. I'm proud of what she was doing," Patricia Santiago said.

Officer Nazario was killed in a crash following a pursuit of an alleged stolen SUV, driven by a teenager. That teen, 16-year-old Andre Butler is now behind bars charged as an adult.

Action News contacted one of Officer Nazario's relatives and one of her close, life-long friends who said her loved ones are going to gather at 39h and Wallace in Mantua, the scene of the tragic accident, to honor her memory and to pray for her injured partner.

A small memorial of flowers and stuffed animals sits where a stolen SUV slammed into the police cruiser Officer Isabel Nazario was riding in with her partner, Terry Tull on Friday. Both had to be cut from the wreckage. Officer Tull suffered a broken hip and ribs and is hospitalized in stable condition. Officer Nazario did not survive.

16-year-old Andre Butler is the person police allege was driving the stolen SUV when it T-boned Nazario and Tull's police cruiser. He's been charged as an adult with 3rd degree murder and vehicular homicide.

Officer Nazario, an 18-year police veteran, is the single mother of a 15-year-old daughter. Her sister and fiancé are also cops. Her family plans to visit the scene of the accident today.

A police officer sits stationed outside her partner's house in Northeast Philadelphia. Neighbors can't believe what's happened.

Ernie Lind says it's, "Sad. It's like you're trying to do your job as police officer, and like I said, you can answer to anything and a guy comes out of nowhere and slams into their vehicle... It's kind of tough."

"I was devastated to hear," said neighbor Debi Cohen. "Devastated how something like that can happen."

The Nazario family says they are a very religious family, very spiritual, and they want to gather at the last place where she lived as they knew her. Funeral arrangements made. There is going to be a viewing Thursday night at a Northeast Philadelphia funeral home and a service and mass Friday morning at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. Isabel will be buried in her hometown in Puerto Rico.

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