HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A funeral was held Saturday for one of two Mississippi police officers shot to death a week ago during a traffic stop.
Thousands of mourners and law enforcement officers from around the country paid their respects to 25-year-old Officer Liquori Tate.
The services — with choir singing, eulogies and police honors — were held at West Point Baptist Church in Hattiesburg. He was to be buried nearby in Starkville.
Under rainy skies, people lined the highway from Hattiesburg to Starkville, many waving American flags, to honor the slain officer as the funeral procession passed.
A funeral was held Thursday for Benjamin Deen, the other officer killed.
Police say 29-year-old Marvin Banks shot the two officers after Deen pulled over a speeding car driven by Banks' girlfriend, 22-year-old Joanie Calloway.
"He sent a powerful message to our nation's youth: that you can be good, and that you can be all that you want to be," Mayor Johnny DuPree said of the 25-year-old Tate. "Liquori Tate proved that you don't have to be rich, and you don't have to be old to affect the lives of millions of people. And both officers have changed the mindset and the way that we respect the jobs that officers perform every day."
Tate, who was known as CoCo to friends and family, had a childhood dream of becoming a law enforcement officer, playing with police cars and games when he was young. That dream was realized June 11, 2014, when he was sworn in as a Hattiesburg officer after a stint at ABC Security.
He was known among colleagues as a dedicated worker with a contagious smile who worked tirelessly to strengthen his relationship with the community.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass," HPD officer Robert Magee said. "It's about learning to dance in the rain.
"Officer Tate had many storms in his short life, and after every storm, there was rain. But not only did he dance in the rain, he didn't mind taking others (dancing) with him."
Tate may have said it best himself through one of his old Facebook posts, which was shared in a tribute program during the service.
"Life is too short," the post read. "So if I die today I'm happy how my life turned out. And I'm happy that I had a chance to meet the people that I met and I enjoyed every moment that I have spent with each and every one of them. That's my word."
Information from: The Hattiesburg American,