LOWER BURRELL (KDKA) — Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects to Lower Burrell Police Officer Derek Kotecki on Monday.
After the funeral and burial service, people have been driving by the cemetery to bid farewell.
It took more than 45 minutes for the hundreds of police officers to drive into Greenwood Memorial Cemetery. Along the way, hundreds more people gathered.
Donna Lobaugh walked the route to collect money for the Kotecki family. Her son is a K-9 handler like the fallen officer.
She heard the officer down call last Wednesday.
“Because they said a K-9 officer was down – he was K-9 and they said New Kensington and he works for Arnold and my first thought was, ‘My son,’” Lobaugh said. “But I don’t like to see any of our police officers shot.”
Kristi Jack, a former classmate of Kotecki’s, said it was important for her young son to be there.
“He’s six years old, so it’s more to show him how a community comes together when a tragedy happens, so I think that’s what he will get from this,” she said.
At the cemetery, bagpipes played as a riderless horse signaled the loss. Fellow officers saluted the flag-draped coffin. There was also a gun salute and a state police helicopter flew over the cemetery and its sign that said: “Heaven Welcomes A Hero: Officer Derek Kotecki.”