Fallen officer honored in Shreveport, Saint Amant
SAINT AMANT - Flags flew at half staff Friday in north Louisiana as family, friends and the law enforcement community remembered Officer Thomas LaValley.
LaValley was shot and killed Wednesday night responding to a call. An intense manhunt led to the accused shooter's capture in the same neighborhood where the shooting happened, and he remains in jail without bond.
Hundreds of people gathered Friday at the Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport for LaValley's memorial service, honoring the man many knew as a person who was dedicated to the law.
Police Chief Willie Shaw celebrated how he lived and called LaValley a hero and "just a good-hearted fella."
A fellow officer gave LaValley his last call on the police radio: "Dispatch to officer LaValley. Dispatch to officer Thomas Joseph LaValley, badge 1284, we thank you for your loyalty, dedication and years of exemplary service to the Shreveport Police Department."
In Lavalley's home town of Saint Amant, relatives said he was loving and a family person. A cross in the front yard of LaValley's family home and a blue light on the porch stood as symbols for the family mourning their fallen officer.
"We are supporting our family of blue as much as we can, as well as they're showing their support for our family here," said LaValley's Aunt Jeannie Averett. "It's wonderful to see how much support everybody in our enormous community, which is Louisiana, has given to our family."
LaValley was a graduate of Saint Amant High School and Northwestern State University. He worked as a sports photographer at a Shreveport television station before becoming graduating at the top of his class at the academy to become a police officer. He was a four-year veteran of the Shreveport Police Department.
On Saturday LaValley's body will be brought from Shreveport to Ourso Funeral Home in Gonzales. Family and friends asked people join them by lining Airline Highway to welcome him home. The family expects LaValley to be in Ascension Parish between 2 and 3 p.m.
"Anybody who wants to come out and help support us, show up," said Averett. "We're going to try to line the streets as far to Baton Rouge as we can and see how far our community can actually reach."
Visitation is Sunday from 5-9 p.m. and again Monday from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Ourso Funeral Home. The funeral mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. with burial to follow at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Saint Amant.