PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty was remembered Thursday as a devoted family man whose imposing build was only overshadowed by his propensity to help others.
Mourners packed a church in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria as colleagues and friends recalled how 34-year-old Officer David Glasser was a warrior who was not afraid to go after the bad guy.
Police Chief Joseph Yahner called Glasser "larger than life," with a 6-foot-5 frame that epitomized a commanding presence.
"But his physical stature was shadowed by his compassion," Yahner said. "He was a hero. We say goodbye to Dave Glasser today, but this will not be the last day we think of his service and his sacrifice."
Officer James Byrd, who served on the same squad as Glasser, said he knew what Glasser would say to those asking, "Why him?"
"He understood the biggest answer to that question is another question: 'If not me, then who?'" Byrd said. "Dave was not a guardian. He was a wolf hunter. He actively hunted the evil in this world that most pretend doesn't exist."
Glasser died May 19, a day after being shot by a burglary suspect who was then killed by police. Glasser was wounded while responding to a man's call about his son stealing guns from him.
Glasser and his partner went to the home and parked behind a car in the driveway without knowing an armed man was inside, police say. He opened fire when the officers got out of their car, and police shot back, killing 19-year-old Israel Santos-Banos.
Glasser is survived by his wife and a young son and daughter. No family members spoke at the service, but wife Kristen Glasser released a statement thanking the community and police for the outpouring of support.
At the funeral, fellow officers also described how Glasser was a big fan of the Arizona Cardinals. He would organize tailgate parties for every game and invite old and new friends.
"I've never seen a man more obsessed with sports," Byrd said.
The service was followed by a procession to a cemetery in north Phoenix. Images on Phoenix police social media accounts showed bystanders lining streets and even a freeway overpass to watch the procession.
Glasser's coffin laid draped with an American flag, which was presented to his family. Then dozens of police officers filed past the casket to give a final goodbye.