PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers said an emotional final goodbye today to fallen Pittsburgh Police Officer Calvin Hall.
Officer Hall, 36, died last week. He spent three days in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital after being shot while off-duty in Homewood before passing away from his injuries.
He was laid to rest Tuesday with a funeral service in Oakland and a burial at Homewood Cemetery.
Greater Pittsburgh Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums —
The service began with the playing of bagpipes by the Greater Pittsburgh Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, the singing of the National Anthem by Sgt. Elizabeth Merkel, and the presentation of colors. The service was presided over by Rev. Earlene Coleman, of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport.
“We know a life has gone too soon,” Rev. Coleman said. “This officer died as he lived, working to keep the peace. He was a peacemaker.”
WATCH: Officer Hall’s Funeral Service —
Det. Adam Beatty read from the Book of Psalms, before Officer Michael Gay performed an emotional rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
During her sermon, Rev. Coleman talked about law enforcement and sacrifice.
“The caring heart is never off duty,” she said. “His death meant we still stand, we still try to keep peace.”
Other featured speakers during the service, included Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, and other officers in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.
WATCH: KDKA’s Ken Rice reports —
In his speech, Mayor Peduto said Officer Hall was a “mama’s boy,” who was always concerned about the well-being of his mother. Officer Hall also leaves behind a loving fiancée. The mayor thanked Hall’s family for sharing their son and brother with the city.
Mayor Peduto also referenced Officer Hall being hand-selected for his assignment in Northview Heights, to create better police-community relations in that neighborhood. It was something Officer Hall had a special touch at doing.
“Let us remember the work of Calvin Hall, and let us carry that torch,” Mayor Peduto said.
FULL SPEECH: Mayor Bill Peduto —
Hissrich discussed the dream of becoming a police officer in his speech.
“We want to be police officers because we want to be like Calvin Hall,” he said.
FULL SPEECH: Director Wendell Hissrich —
During Chief Schubert emotional address, he talked about Officer Hall’s selflessness, courage, infectious smile, his perfect demeanor to be a police officer and his hard work to make his dream come true.
“Over the years, Calvin worked at Shuman Center, UPMC Hospital in McKeesport. He put himself through Indiana University Police Academy while still working full time. After graduating the academy, he found employment with the Braddock Police Department and at Point Park University Police Department. Calvin wanted to become a Pittsburgh Police officer because he knew he could make a difference in the community and help mentor kids. Calvin obtained that wish on Dec. 3, 2017 when he joined our family.
“Since he was a child, there is no doubt in my mind that Calvin always had something deep inside his heart and soul that caused him to seek justice, help those in need, protect the vulnerable and make the difference in the lives of others. He was a person who always puts the needs of others before his own. Calvin did more than just dream about becoming a cop. He made sure his dream came true.
Chief Schubert said he feels blessed to have known Officer Hall.
“We were truly blessed when Calvin became a member of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and we’re all better because of it,” said Chief Schubert.
FULL SPEECH: Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert —
Officer Hall’s superior, Pittsburgh Police Zone 1 Cmdr. Christopher Ragland, told a touching story about a man who came to the zone just days after Hall’s death. He told Cmdr. Ragland that through caring and counsel, Officer Hall saved his marriage.
“[Officer Hall] listened, cared and helped however needed,” said Cmdr. Ragland.
The commander also said Officer Hall played many roles in his life, son, brother, fiancé, friend, officer, and more, but “his most important role, he was a difference maker.”
Today Calvin Hall was remembered as a man who knew from his youngest days he wanted to be a police officer in his own community and make a difference.
“When you talked to him you knew immediately there was something special about him. His smile was contagious and his demeanor was genuine. You could tell instantly he cared about being a police officer and he cared about making a difference in the community,” Chief Scott Schubert says.
FULL SPEECH: Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Christopher Ragland —
Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Joe Lewis and Officer Reggie Eiland also took the podium to remember Officer Hall.
FULL SPEECH: Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Joe Lewis —
Officer Eiland teared up, calling Officer Hall not just a co-worker or friend, but a “brother.” He said he sat in Officer Hall’s hospital room and was there when he took his last breath.
“I lost my partner, and I lost my brother,” said Officer Eiland. “Why him? Why Cal? How can this happen to such a beautiful person?”
Officer Eiland said a wise person told him, “You do not realize what God is doing, but later you will understand.” He went on to say, it’s important to never forget Officer Hall’s legacy.
FULL SPEECH: Pittsburgh Police Officer Reggie Eiland —
“I was always looking to get into something and he was a balance. I was quiet and he was always talking to somebody. I tend to have a serious look on my face. Cal was always smiling. They say magnets attract because they are opposites and in a way that complements each other,” said Officer Eiland. “As I mentioned, you can tell Cal and I were total opposites and as Sergeant Lewis said, Cal was the ying to your yang.”
Hall’s siblings, Eugenia Hall Miller and Curtis Hall, delivered remarks from the family. Hall’s sister said he was the rock of their family and his compassion for others, especially young people, knew no bounds.
FULL SPEECH: Officer Hall’s Siblings —
Finally, Officer Hall’s father, Curtis Washington, performed a song that he wrote himself for his son, called “I Loved You Before.”
“Now your spirit will run free… eternally,” he sang.
FULL PERFORMANCE: Officer Hall’s Father —
Following the service, mourners gathered at Homewood Cemetery, which will be Officer Hall’s final resting place.
WATCH: Brenda Water reports live as Officer Calvin Hall is laid to rest —
While bagpipes played “Amazing Grace,” the officers acting as pallbearers folded the American flag that adorned Officer Hall’s casket.
The bagpipers led the procession into Homewood Cemetery. There were riderless horses with the boots reversed in the stirrups, symbolizing the fallen commander looking back on his troops for the last time.
Officer Calvin Hall’s brother Curtis is saddened by the murder of his brother, but remaining strong in his spirit.
Hall’s brother talked to KDKA about how the family has been able to cope with such a tragic loss.
“To be ‘Calvin Strong,’ that’s exactly what we are all saying, that’s how we are going to get through this,” Curtis Hall says.
A celebration of the life of a man, an officer and a gentleman, his sister Eugenia Hall Miller vows to carry on his legacy.
“I promised him while he was lying in his hospital bed fighting for his life, I promised him I would continue working on a project he and Officer Eiland were working on in Northview Heights, something that will be helpful for the community,” she says.
This was the final chapter of Officer Hall’s life but certainly not his legacy.
Three flags were presented to the family. One to Hall’s mother, another to his father and one to his fiancée. Hall’s mother was also given his badge.
WEB EXTRA: Graveside Services —
Visitation for Officer Hall was held Monday at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. Thousands came to give their final respects.
This morning, police and law enforcement from around our region and across the country gathered on Pittsburgh’s North Shore for a procession to Oakland. Find the road closures here.
WATCH LIVE: Police Procession To Soldiers & Sailors Hall —
Their destination was Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall where the funeral got underway around 11:15 a.m.
On Facebook, the Pittsburgh Police shared a video with the caption, “‘Gotta go. Time for me to make a difference.’ That’s what Officer Hall said every day as he walked out of the station to his patrol car. He did make a difference. Rest In Peace, Calvin Hall.”
— Pittsburgh Police (@PghPolice) July 17, 2019
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Police say Officer Hall was unarmed and off-duty at the time of the shooting. He was shot at close range three times in the back, reportedly as he was trying to break up a fight.
Chief Scott Schubert said there’s a lot of evidence that shows he was likely “acting under the color of the law” at the time of the shooting.
On Monday, police filed formal charges against Christian Bey, who was named as a person of interest in the case last week.
Bey is facing criminal homicide charges and has a long criminal history prior to the shooting.
“I just want to take this time to thank the City of Pittsburgh for working hard, and showing love and support for our entire family, to all the detectives that worked hard to solve this case. We are overjoyed that the suspect has been arrested and has been charged with the murder of my brother, Officer Calvin Hall,” said Officer Hall’s sister, Eugenia Hall Miller.
Hall was on his way to earning a degree in criminal justice from Point Park University when he was killed. Before his time with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, he worked for the university’s campus police and in Braddock.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on Officer Hall’s funeral.