Police come from all over for funeral

| Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011

Police cars from seemingly every department in a four-county area attended the funeral services for slain Lower Burrell Officer Derek Kotecki.

Alle-Kiski Valley cars included New Kensington, Saxonburg, Brackenridge, West Deer, Harmar, Harrison, North Buffalo, Springdale, Sharpsburg, Fawn, Frazer and Washington Township.

Regionally, police attended from Butler, New Castle, Braddock, West Newton, Waynesburg, East Pittsburgh and Penn Township, among many others.

Officers also attended from as far away as Canada, West Virginia, Ohio, Reading, State College and Erie.

One police SUV was from Ocean City, Md. Kotecki worked for the resort town's department before being hired at the Lower Burrell.

Police time off

All Lower Burrell officers have been on leave since Kotecki's death. New Kensington Police Chief Ron Zellers has been coordinating the city's police coverage by other officers from across the region.

Burrell students attend

All Burrell students had the opportunity to attend the procession.

Processions passed Bon Air and Stewart elementaries, so students walked outside to watch. Huston Middle School students were bused to Hillcrest Plaza and buses took high school students to the former Montgomery Ward plaza to watch.

W.L. Roenigk Inc. donated buses, and bus drivers donated their time to transport students to the procession, Burrell Superintendent Shannon Wagner said.

Wagner said she wanted students to attend to feel a sense of belonging and to mourn together with their community.

Children affected

Many Alle-Kiski officers gathered at the cemetery well before the service there. At one point, the conversation turned to their families.

Several officers said that since Kotecki's murder, their young children have asked them not to go to work.

Restaurant donating wages

The employees at the Beermuda, along Freeport Road in New Kensington decided to donate wages they would have earned on Monday to the Kotecki family, according to a statement e-mailed to the Valley News Dispatch. The statement additionally said the Beermuda is donating a portion of sales from Monday and Tuesday, and the company is encouraging other companies to do the same.

Funds for Kotecki family

The Fraternal Order of Police Allegheny Valley Lodge No. 39 set up a fund for the family of Patrolman Derek Kotecki at:

S&T Bank

4251 Old William Penn Highway

Murrysville, PA 15668

Make checks payable to Derek Kotecki Memorial Fund.

Arch salute

A New Kensington fire truck and an Arnold fire truck each lifted its ladder, forming an arch to hold a large American flag above Leechburg Road near Bon Air Elementary. The arch is traditional salute for fallen firemen.

Mourner stricken

A mourner was stricken with an apparent heart attack while waiting for the cemetery service for Patrolman Kotecki.

The unidentified man was treated by A-K Pulsar and other paramedics. He was taken to a hospital by Lower Kiski ambulance while other ambulance crews participated in the services.

No further information on the incident was available.

Killer also buried

The man accused of fatally shooting Patrolman Derek Kotecki was quietly buried Saturday in Greenwood Memorial Park.

Accused killer Charlie Post, 33, of Lower Burrell, is buried in an unmarked, anonymous grave in the large cemetery.

He was shot by police and shot himself minutes after firing shots that killed Kotecki.

Monsignor James Gaston of St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church said Monday he officiated at the Post service attended by his family.

"This is difficult," Gaston said after leading Kotecki's committal service at the cemetery. "Both families were members," he said.

Cemetery officials declined to reveal where in the cemetery Post is buried.

Staff writer Chuck Biedka, Tom Yerace and Rossilynne Skena contributed to this report.

Photo Galleries

Officer's funeral

Officer's funeral

Hundreds of police officers from around Pennsylvania and many other states are in the Alle-Kiski Valley this morning for the funeral of slain Lower Burrell Police Officer Derek Kotecki.

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