NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - An NOPD officer struck by a car on the Pontchartrain Expressway, is laid to rest after his death, last week. Law enforcement from across the region descended on Greater St. Stephen Church in New Orleans East Saturday to help say good-bye to Officer Vernell Brown, Jr.
Under a beaming sun, hundreds gathered to pay their final respects to Officer Brown. "Great, great guy, we're gonna miss him. We're really gonna miss him," Brown's friend Johnnie Young said.
The 47-year-old died July 17th, five days after being hit by a car on the Pontchartrain Expressway. The veteran officer was investigating a car fire when two other vehicles collided, one hitting Brown. "It's a horrible thing that we're going through right now but everyone made remarks, it's hard right now, but we'll make it," Young explained.
The markings of an officer's funeral, is becoming an all too familiar sight. Just weeks earlier, NOPD Officer Daryle Holloway lost his life, when he was shot to death in the line of duty.
"It's really important that we really stay together as one united family," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
Officer Brown's funeral comes almost exactly one month after Officer Holloway's. Holloway's family says the two officers were friends and Brown even served as an escort in Holloway's funeral procession.
Holloway's uncle, David Belfield, says, "With our family, it was community and people coming that propped us up, that prayed for us, that made us feel wanted and special. So it was important for us to come out and do the same for his family."
Brown's brothers and sisters on the force, they're getting support too. Members of other law enforcement agencies showed up Saturday, admitting so many deaths in the line of duty take a toll.
"It does hurt us when we see our brothers and sisters like this," Gonzales Police Ofc. Jimmie Dunaway said.
NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison adds, "It's very difficult but we are a resilient group of people just like the citizens of this city are resilient."
Harrison says it's important the community doesn't forget the officers who dedicate their lives to keep us safe. The officers who lived and died, for the NOPD.
Officer Brown was buried at Lake Lawn cemetery. He is survived by a fiancée and five children.