NEW KENSINGTON (KDKA) – Before the procession to the church, Officer Derek Kotecki’s family, friends and fellow officers arrived at the funeral home in Lower Burrell to say their final goodbyes.
His life and service were honored and remembered as the horse-drawn hearse carried Officer Kotecki through the streets of Lower Burrell.
Nearly 3,000 officers from as far away as Canada came to stand beside their fallen brother one last time.
“It’s kind of hard to explain. Everybody talks about the blue line, but it’s like a family. And like I said before, we lost a brother today. He shouldn’t have died. It’s a sad moment,” Pittsburgh Police Officer Marty Link said.
Members of the community lined the streets to pay their final respects as well.
“It’s just overwhelming. To see all this support -we’re a little community, but we always stick together,” Marlene Haslett said.
The community mourned alongside the brothers in blue to grieve for the Kotecki family and the loss of a wonderful life.
“I saw Liz, his mother, and she said she had no idea everybody loved him like they did,” Colleen Shantz said.
“This is just my thank you for supporting our community and helping us out. I can’t even begin to imagine all this. It’s just terrible,” Haslett said.
Officer Kotecki was shot and killed Wednesday night outside of the Dairy Queen on Greensburg Road in Lower Burrell. He was an 18-year veteran of the force.
“It’s a sad day. We lost a brother officer. You think about it on the job and you think about it on your way out here. As much as we hate to do this, we come out here because it’s like a family member,” Link said.