BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Thousands turned out at a north Baton Rouge church Monday to say a final good-bye to slain officer Cpl. Montrell Jackson.
American flags stood tall along the street adjacent to the sprawling Living Faith Christian Center Church as hundreds of police motorcycles and vehicles filled the street ahead of the start of the funeral.
It was an overflow crowd in attendance to honor the life of Jackson, who was among three Baton Rouge officers shot and killed July 17 by a lone sniper who authorities said deliberately targeted law officers in the days after two black men were shot in killed by police.
"For those of us at BRPD, we have come this sweltering July day to mourn the death of our family. We have come to say goodbye and celebrate the life's journey of Corporal. Jackson," said Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie.
Gov. John Bel Edwards also addressed the gathering.
"Montrell was courageous, so what an appropriate expression for a man who believed in his community and cared so deeply about protecting it. Montrell was genuine. He was a good person, and that was evident to all - and he loved this city that he protected," Edwards said.
Officers traveled hundreds of miles to represent their departments and to honor a fallen comrade.
"Absolutely horrible, horrible - it's a travesty," said Kevin Vanwie, a law officer from Arizona.
Others represented agencies closer to home.
"We're your friend, we're out to serve the public, we are the thin blue line. We are there if we have to be, we'll take a bullet for you, but what is the difficult part right now is we're being shot indiscriminately. People are just targeting us for assassination," said Detective Barry Hebert of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office.
Family members exited the church encouraged by the overwhelming show of support while anticipating the tough days ahead for Jackson's widow, who is left to raise the couple's 4-month-old child.
"I'm just asking the world and the community to come together and just keep her in prayer because she's going through some things right now because he was her rock," said Willie Washington, a cousin.
"Just staying close to her, loving her, lifting her up because his name speaks for itself, he was a good guy," said Galatians Blakes, an uncle of Jackson.