Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald laid to rest
BATON ROUGE - A large crowd turned out for the first of three funerals for officers slain during last Sunday’s tragic ambush shooting.
A viewing for Officer Matthew Gerald took place earlier on Friday morning at the site of his funeral service which began at 11 a.m. at Healing Place Church on Highland Road. The burial is to follow at the Louisiana National Cemetery at 303 W. Mount Pleasant in Zachary.
Rolling road blocks will be in place when the procession for Officer Gerald leaves the church following the service. It will proceed south on Highland Road to I-10. It will then travel I-10 West to I-110 North before exiting to proceed north on Scenic Highway to the Louisiana National Cemetery. Delays connected to the procession shouldn't last longer than 30 minutes, according to traffic officials.
Mayor-President Kip Holden spoke early in the service, speaking highly of the fallen officer and former Marine, but his statements quickly drifted toward a message pleading for unity in a community that has been gutted by the violence of the past weeks.
Traffic officials warned drivers to expect heavy delays on I-10, I-110 and I-12 until 4 p.m. due to the funeral procession.
Expect closures and heavy delays on I-10, I-110 and I-12 from approximately 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM today due to a funeral procession.— Baton Rouge Traffic (@BR_Traffic) July 22, 2016
"A community in mourning should evaluate itself and say what can I do to make my community better," said Holden. "Even in mourning and in our darkest hours as we grieve, I say to you, don't give up hope."
Officer Gerald's casket, donated by a Houston company, was at front and center of the sanctuary, draped in an American flag.
BRPD's Chief Carl Dabadie spoke immediately after the Mayor.
"For Matthew Gerald, being a cop is not what he did, it is what he was," said Chief Dabadie. "It's hard to say goodbye to a good man, to capture the essential truth of that person."
Dabadie's message revolved around the grief of loss, but also centered on the qualities of service that made the man such a strong officer, father, husband and soldier.
"Officer Matthew Gerald like a good soldier has fought a good fight. His end of watch came too soon, but he served well. We will always remember his stellar service and devotion to the Baton Rouge Police Department," The Chief said.
There will also be fire truck tributes at nearly every interstate overpass as the procession makes it way toward Zachary.
A truck from the Baker Fire Department will join with the Zachary Fire Department's ladder truck at Scenic Highway and Mount Pleasant Road with ladders crossed and an American flag hanging between them.
"We all salute the final destination of our fallen brother," Hunt says.
Baker and Zachary firefighters will be joined by others from the Baton Rouge Fire Department and St. George Fire Department.
Visitation for Deputy Brad Garafola will be held at noon on Saturday, July 23 at Istrouma Baptist Church, located at 10500 Sam Rushing Drive in Baton Rouge. A service is to follow at 2 p.m.
A procession from the church to Greenoaks Funeral Home will follow the service. There will be no public graveside service.
Visitation for Corporal Montrell Jackson will take place on Monday, July 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Living Faith Center on Winbourne Avenue with services and burial to follow.
Desktop NewsClick to open Continuous News in a sidebar that updates in real-time.
Auto shop releases car following 2 On Your Side story
Officials believe overnight fire at Denham Springs restaurant was intentionally set
Ceremony held in Capitol Memorial Hall in honor of former Gov. Blanco
Hundreds gather to remember former Gov. Kathleen Blanco
Car removed from New Orleans' underground canal system