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Hundreds Gather For Funeral Of Fallen Bradley Police Sergeant Marlene Rittmanic

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Hundreds of people turned out Friday morning to show their support and love for the family of fallen Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic at her funeral.

Rittmanic, who was shot and killed in the line of duty last week, was remembered as a public servant who clearly loved her Bradley community, as loved ones gathered for her funeral service at Hawkins Centennial Chapel on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

Rittmanic, 49, was shot and killed on Dec. 30 after responding to a call of dogs barking in an unattended car at the Comfort Inn hotel at 1500 N. Illinois Highway 50 in Bradley, Illinois. Her partner, Tyler Bailey, was critically wounded in the same shooting.

CBS 2's Meredith Barack reports Ritmanic's family, friends, community members, and fellow police officers from all over the country filled the chapel for a touching memorial filled with tears, reflection, and even moments of laughter.

Family described Rittmanic as a published poet and amateur photographer and film producer for family events, Bradley Police Department recruiting, and community events. She also won Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2020.

Those who knew her best spoke of her love and encouragement.

RIttmanic's wife, Lyn Stua, said she was angry, but wanted to speak about the woman she shared much of her life with.

"When you find your soulmate you realize finally why you were put on this earth. To work very hard at what you know, so you can provide the best life for that soulmate, wife, best friend, confidant, lover, and the most beautiful person I have ever had the privalage to gaze in aww every single day," Stua said crying.

Stua spoke of her late wife's infectious smile, and how she was her best friend. She also touched on Rittmanic's love for their dogs, and the dreams they had for the rest of their lives.

Meantime, a fellow officer read one of Rittmanic's poems:

The color we bleed is that of Deep Blue,
the blood that is shed is without asking for who.

No time to be afraid, no time to cry,
no choice in what we do,
where we go ow when we die.
The color we bleed is that of Deep Blue.
All to often one will pay the Ultimate price,
Those who wear the uniform
accept this sacrifice.

Beyond the Call of Duty one day might
be mine, no regrets, sorrow or fear as
I walk the Blue Line.

The color I'll Bleed is that of Deep Blue

After the funeral, hundreds of law enforcement vehicles will take part in a procession to escort her body to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, where Rittmanic will be laid to rest at a private service.

The public is invited to line the procession route to show support.


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