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Thousands turn out at funeral for slain officer

February 24, 2011 2:24:42 PM PST
A flag covered coffin, grieving parents and thousands of police officers standing at attention.

Those were the images of a painful goodbye in Carmel.

A sea of blue uniforms lined the street outside of St. James the Apostle Church to honor Officer John Falcone.

A riderless horse and a fire truck decorated with flowers were part of the procession that escorted Falcone's coffin to the church.

"Every policeman really hurts," Captain Paul Lecompte said.

Falcone was 44 years old, an 18-year veteran of the Poughkeepsie City Police Department. He was shot and killed last Friday after struggling with 27-year-old Lee Welch of Catskill who had just killed his wife in a domestic dispute. Officer Falcone did manage to rescue the couple's three year old daughter moments before he was shot. It was an act of bravery that earned him a posthumous promotion to detective and the city's first medal of honor.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan officiated the mass, after which helicopters flew in formation.

Mourners filled the Cargain Funeral Home in Carmel for wakes Tuesday and Wednesday to pay their respects.

"He was very compassionate about his job," police department employee Dorinda Germano said. "He was very compassionate about everybody."

The mayor of Poughkeepsie declared this a day of remembrance. City offices are closed and police from other agencies are patrolling the city so that the entire department could attend the services.

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