SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A single white horse led the flag-draped coffin of 32-year-old San Antonio Police Officer Miguel Moreno to his funeral Friday before hundreds of mourners, including first responders from across the country, paid final respects to the officer who was killed in a shootout last week.
Described as a “cop’s cop” by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, Moreno and his partner, Officer Julio Cavazos, were shot on June 29 as they approached two men while investigating a car burglary. One of the men immediately opened fire on the two officers, striking the nine-year police veteran in the head and wounding Cavazos, who was able to pull his partner from the line of fire and shoot back.
Moreno died the following morning at a local hospital.
The suspect killed himself in a downtown San Antonio street near a community college. The other man is in police custody.
At the Friday morning funeral service, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg called Moreno an everyday hero who committed his life to protecting the city.
“His death feels like an equation that doesn’t add up,” Nirenberg said. “We will forever be in his debt.”
A San Antonio native who ranked sixth in his 2002 high school class, where he played football as a lineman, Moreno went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin before spending nine years on the San Antonio Police force.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told mourners he was supposed to hold a ceremony in Dallas to sign a new law establishing “Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day,” one year after a lone gunman killed five officers and injured nine others. The ambush in downtown Dallas became the deadliest day for officers since 9/11.
“On a day that will forever commemorate fallen officers in Texas, we find ourselves at yet another service of a law enforcement officer lost in the line of duty,” Abbott said. “As Chief McManus recently noted, it is time to end the attacks on our law enforcement officers.”
After his remarks, the governor presented a Texas flag to Moreno’s family.
Nicknamed “Mo” by his fellow officers, a former police academy classmate said Moreno exceeded in his academics, loved being a cop, and “caught a lot of bad guys.”
Moreno’s roughly two-hour public funereal service also included comments from his brother, San Antonio Police Officer Arturo Moreno. He is survived by his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.
McManus acknowledged the difficult climate for police officers nationwide in remarks eulogizing the fallen officer. One hundred and thirty-five police officers died in the United States last year in the line of duty, the highest number in five years, he said.
On Wednesday, New York Police Officer Miosotis Familia, 48, was fatally shot in the head while sitting in a marked police truck. The funeral for the mother of three will take place Monday.
In November, San Antonio police detective Benjamin Marconi, 50, was shot to death while writing a traffic ticket inside his police cruiser. Days later, a SWAT team arrested Otis Tyrone McKane and charged him with capital murder.
Toward the end of his remarks Friday, the city’s police chief directly addressed anybody advocating violence against police.
“To those who have disdain … I have a message for you: there will never be a legitimate reason that would justify such a warped point of view,” McManus said.
After the funeral service, seven San Antonio officers carried Moreno’s casket for police honors outside the Community Bible Church as hundreds of law enforcement officers raised their hands in salute.
Moreno was laid to rest in a private burial ceremony afterward.