Thousands say goodbye to slain EBRSO Deputy Garafola
BATON ROUGE – East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputy Brad Garafola was remembered Saturday as a man who ran to help his fellow officers during last week's shooting on Airline Highway.
Deputy Garafola was laid to rest at Greenoaks Funeral Home Saturday afternoon. All 1,500 seats were filled at Istrouma Baptist Church as funeral services started at 2 p.m. The walls were lined with mourners, many of them police officers from across the country.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards spoke at the service, saying that strength and courage defined Garafola's life and death.
"We should grieve and mourn," Edwards said. "Also, we should celebrate the life of Brad, and give thanks to God for giving Brad to us, even if we think it was too short a while."
Edwards also thanked the law enforcement officers in the room for being heroes every day.
"Last Sunday was a dark day," Edwards said. "Today, this is a beautiful display of a community coming together."
East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux called Garafola courageous, compasssionate, brave and benevolent.
"Brad was an everyday hero to his friends and family," Gautreaux said. "Deputy Brad Garafola died as he lived. He died a hero."
Gautreaux said that the community will forever owe Garafola a debt for his service and sacrafice.
EBRSO Deputy Bruce Simmons, who was wounded in Sunday's shooting, was also present at the service. Simmons was shot during the attack and required two surgeries to repair a shattered humerus.
Gautreaux acknowledged Simmons as well as Deputy Nick Tullier who was also wounded and is fighting for his life at a local hospital.
Garafola's brother-in-law, Jaye Cooper, said people called Garafola the neighborhood husband because he cut grass, caught snakes and did other chores around his neighborhood.
Cooper said Garafola died "doing what Brad had always done - trying to help someone else."
At 3:30 p.m. the Last Call for Deputy Brad Garafola was broadcasted across EBRSO's radio.
Garafola's body was taken by horse-drawn carriage to Airline Highway outside the B-Quik store where Sunday's shooting occurred. A small ceremony with a balloon release was held before the casket was transfered to a hearse.
Cameras captured Sheriff Gautreaux kneeling down in prayer against the back of the hearse before the procession continued to Greenoaks Funeral Home.
Garafola began his employment at the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office in 1992 at the age of 21. He was a 1989 graduate of Broadmoor High School in Baton Rouge. He leaves behind his wife Tonja and four children, Garrett, Braley, Brad, and Samantha.
Baton Rouge police Officer Matthew Gerald was laid to rest Friday. The third officer killed, Montrell Jackson, will be buried Monday.
Three other officers were also wounded in the shooting.
Watch the full video of the funeral service and procession here: