Hundreds pay their final respects to EPPD officer
EL PASO, Texas —
Hundreds of people descended on the Sunset Funeral Home in the Lower Valley Thursday to honor an El Paso police officer who died in the line of duty.
Officer David Ortiz died on Monday after being hit by a car on Thursday on his motorcycle.
Ortiz was a nine-year veteran of the force, and fellow officers said he loved being a motorcycle cop.
"He was a very dedicated officer, very professional. He had a great sense of humor and laugh," said Antonio Aguilar, Ortiz's former boss.
The viewing for Ortiz began at 4 p.m. with the parking lot already at capacity a few minutes later. Soon after, people began parking on the street, in an adjacent dirt lot and even in a nearby neighborhood to pay their respects.
The line of mourners extended out of the funeral home, through the parking lot and wrapped around the sidewalk. Many of the visitors wore Cowboys jerseys as a tribute to Ortiz, who was an avid fan.
Officers from numerous neighboring law enforcement agencies also showed up, including the El Paso Sheriff's Office and Border Patrol.
Outside, two El Paso Fire Department trucks raised massive flags on their ladders on either side of the funeral home, illuminating those flags in blue when the sun went down.
A steady stream of motorcycles also filed into and out of the parking lot since Ortiz was an avid motorcyclist.
Some of the people who attended the viewing and rosary only met Ortiz a few times.
"He was full of life, the life of the party, just a great person. I had the opportunity to meet him a couple times, and he is just a happy-go-lucky guy," said Martha Delgado, a family friend.
Others knew him for years.
"Officer David Ortiz it worked for me for the Horizon Police Department from 2001 until about 2007 when I was the chief of police there," Aguilar said.
All of them said Ortiz always had a smile on his face and an infectious laugh.
"He always had a smile on his face, and you know it's a great loss to everybody," said Delgado.
Aguilar said he will always remember Ortiz's professionalism, his dedication, his work ethic and his positive attitude.
"He loved motorcycles and that's what he wanted to do, and I still feel that he was happy that he was able to do that and serve his community and it cost him the ultimate sacrifice. But, he did it well and we're very proud of that," Aguilar said.
Aguilar said he has been to a lot of funerals in the past for fellow officers but that this one will be particularly difficult because of his close relationship with Ortiz.
"Officer David Ortiz was the type of officer that's wanted to do the best for everybody, every day," Aguilar said.
Ortiz's funeral is set for Friday at Saint Peter and Paul Church at 11:30 a.m. He will be laid to rest at Mount Carmel Cemetery afterward. The public is invited to attend.