BEDFORD (CBSDFW.COM) — First responders and members of the North Texas community lined the streets as Euless Police Officer David Hofer's procession rolled by. Love and support resonated for the 29-year-old officer killed in the line of duty.
The procession drove to Pennington Field for a public "celebration of life" memorial Saturday. Hofer was shot and killed while responding to a call about a suspicious person and possible shots fired at J.A. Carr Park on Tuesday. A memorial has been set up outside the Euless police department that community members visited frequently.
Saturday's service was another chance to say goodbye. American flags abounded, and the sound of bagpipes filled the air.
"It's a sad, sad day for the city of Euless, Texas, and its citizens," the Euless Police Department chaplain said. "We come before you today stunned by the events of this past week. This has been a reminder that the cost of safety in a free society comes at high price. Sometimes we don't learn until we start to lose things, that evil lurks everywhere, and David stood strong against evil."
Then there was silence.
Hofer joined the Euless Police Department in January 2014 after five years of service with the New York Police Department. The Plano resident graduated high school in Brooklyn and got a bachelor's degree from New York University in 2008.
Some New York police officers attended the service, where Euless Police Chief Michael Brown spoke.
"His goal was like your goal or my goal; it was to be better tomorrow than he was today. But David's next tomorrow never came," Brown said. "David's life ended with him being the best police officer he could be on that day, at that time and in that situation. And of that, there is no doubt."
Hofer's father recounted memories of his son and his dedication to the job.
"There is one thing you should be able to agree on: Let's keep our kids out of trouble," he said, adding that Hofer would approve of the message. "David made the ultimate sacrifice by doing the job he loved, but there are many less dangerous things each of us could do in our communities to make them better."
Hofer's fiancee, Marta Danylyk, told the story of their engagement. She said she had been asking Hofer to go on a ride-along for one of his shifts. On Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, that day finally came. Sort of.
After taking their time hanging around the police station and a 45-minute stop at a Starbucks, they drove around a neighborhood before heading to a park to back up another officer checking out a "suspicious vehicle." Danylyk said it was strange that he found out about the car through a text message and not over the radio.
Earlier in the day, Hofer had told her she needed to stand in front of the car in the event of a stop, so she would be on the dashcam in case anything happened, she recounted, laughing.
"Within seconds, Dave abruptly opens the door and says, 'Everyone out,' and I see this very familiar woman come out of the van holding a camera. It is my mom," she said.
Then Hofer's family and some friends followed. It had all been a plan.
Danylyk said she had previously told Hofer she wanted the proposal to be on camera and for her family to be there.
"He cared about people and was thoughtful in how he interacted with each person. He went out of his way to give me exactly what I dreamed my proposal would be," she said. "Mainly, it is no surprise that he proposed in blue."
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Hofer's family for donations.
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