Mourners of slain sheriff's deputy fill Baton Rouge church
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Baton Rouge sheriff's deputy killed last Sunday ran to help another officer when he could have stayed safe in the convenience store where he was working off-duty, a minister said at his funeral Saturday.
“It's a remarkable story, the story of Brad Garafola,” said the Rev. Jeff Ginn, lead pastor at Istrouma Baptist Church. “He had a place of security ... a place where he could hide. He left that place of safety.”
Garafola and two Baton Rouge police officers were killed outside the B-Quik convenience store by 29-year-old gunman Gavin Long, who was killed by police.
Three other officers were wounded. Sheriff Sid Gautreaux told mourners Saturday that one remains in critical condition and another faces a third operation on his shattered arm.
All 1,500 seats were filled in Istrouma Baptist Church, where a public funeral was held for Garafola. The walls were lined with additional mourners, many of them police who had come from across the country.
A funeral Mass was celebrated earlier at a Catholic church for Garafola's family and friends, according to his obituary.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said strength and courage seem to have defined Garafola's life and death.
Gautreaux said Garafola was “courageous, compassionate, fearless, fair, brave and benevolent.”
His brother-in-law, Jaye Cooper, said people called Garafola “the neighborhood husband” because he cut grass, caught snakes and did other chores for people around the community.
“He never asked anything for what he did,” Cooper said. He said Garafola died “doing what Brad had always done — trying to help someone else.”
During two hours of visitation before the funeral, a line of mourners snaked through church hallways, out the back door and into the parking lot. It included scores of officers from across Louisiana and from coast to coast.
Two police officers and two sheriff's deputies came from the Seattle area.
Bellevue police Officer Paul Dill said their chief feels it's important to honor brother and sister officers. He said the department sends an honor guard contingent to every out-of-state death in the line of duty.
On Friday, hundreds turned out for a funeral service for Baton Rouge police Officer Matthew Gerald, 41.
Funeral services for the third officer slain, 32-year-old Montrell Jackson, are scheduled for Monday.
A multi-agency memorial service for the officers is set for Thursday.