Final farewell for Officer Nazario

PHILADELPHIA - September 12, 2008 She was killed on September 5th in the Mantua section of the city when the cruiser she was riding in was hit by an SUV being pursued by police.

Nazario's body arrived at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul Friday morning. A long line of mourners passed by her casket to pay their final respects.

Among the mourners were her mother, sister and fiance. Her teenaged daughter Jazmin read from scripture.

"The Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the Earth," Jazmin Nazario said.

Cardinal Justin Rigali celebrated the Mass, parts of which were in Spanish. The Cardinal also delivered the homily.

"We pray that her legacy of service and Christian love will remain for years to come. A treasure for her beloved family, for her partner in the police department who escaped death and for this whole community," said Cardinal Rigali.

During the mass, gifts were taken to the altar by Nazario's family. There were also roses presented by the Narcotics Task Force of which she was a member.

"For 18 years she joked, laughed, clowned around," said Officer Anne Rutherford. "We shared our dreams and wishes for our children, and now she's gone."

Officer Nazario's casket was taken from the cathedral as police saluted and the sound of bagpipes filled the air.

In an act of devotion, Nazario's police partner, Terry Tull, showed up to the funeral. He has been hospitalized with a broken hip and broken ribs since the accident but refused to miss the service, even if it meant being in a wheelchair.

During the funeral, officers who couldn't fit inside the cathedral stood in silence outside, some watching a jumbotron carrying the service.

"This is one of of our own and even though we are not in the same police department, we face the same challenges every day," said Sgt. John Slavin of the Cheltenham Twp. Police.

After the mass, Officer Nazario was taken to the funeral home. It was a solemn salute as officers carried her flag-draped coffin out of the cathedral to a waiting hearse.

That departed, heading up I-95 to the Givnish Funeral Home on Academy Road in the Northeast.

In a driving rain, the hearse arrived to a final salute.

Nazario's casket will stay there overnight until it is taken to Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday, to be flown to her native Puerto Rico.

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.

A memorial fund has been set up for Officer Nazario's family. Contributions can be sent the trust fund, at 901 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.