NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Hundreds turned out to honor an NOPD officer who lost her life after police say she was hit by a drunken driver Sunday. At the Wednesday evening vigil, Natasha Hunter's father had powerful words, offering forgiveness for her killer.
Natasha Hunter's fellow officers, friends and even strangers showed up in solidarity, praying with her family that they'll be able to cope with their loss.
"We did all we could, we prayed, we held on, we waited for a miracle," said Hunter's father, Nathaniel Sherman.
But the miracle didn't come. Instead, the 31-year-old's family and co-workers spent the night in front of NOPD headquarters remembering her life.
"We say thank you to her, we say thank you to her family for sharing her with us, for allowing her to serve this community with distinction, with honor," NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said.
Fellow officers paid tribute through sound, while Hunter's father surprised everyone with his words of forgiveness for Chau Thai Nguyen, the man accused of driving drunk and causing the crash that killed Hunter.
"I bear no animosity toward him. He's a victim in this too," Sherman said.
Hunter's family hopes she didn't die in vain.
"I hope this was an eye-opener to a lot of people that drink and drive" said Hunter's brother, Oran Perrier. "We lost a family member."
A family member who leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter and a community reeling in pain.
Family and friends will say their final goodbyes to Hunter starting this weekend. A public visitation is scheduled for Sunday at Rhodes funeral home. Then on Monday, a public viewing and memorial mass takes place at Greater Saint Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church on Read Boulevard. Hunter will be laid to rest at Providence Memorial park, right after the Mass.