ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) — At least 1,000 law enforcement officers and much of the small Iowa community of Rockwell City gathered Tuesday to mourn the death of a 24-year-old police officer nearly a week after he and another officer were gunned down in their patrol cars.
Residents and officers packed into a middle school gymnasium to remember Justin Martin, a rookie officer in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale who grew up in Rockwell City. The community of 1,700 people is about 75 miles northwest of Des Moines.
Urbandale Police Chief Ross McCarty told mourners that his department and Rockwell City had both suffered a tremendous loss.
"This past week, the Urbandale Police Department lost our young man, but the community of Rockwell City lost their son," McCarty said.
An Urbandale man is charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 2 shooting deaths of Martin and 38-year-old Des Moines police Sgt. Anthony Beminio. A funeral for Beminio was held Monday.
Few knew Martin as well as Urbandale officer Brady Farrington, who also grew up in Rockwell City. The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/2fAsmka ) he spoke at the service about first meeting Martin in kindergarten and remaining close throughout their lives.
Farrington was "born to serve," Farrington said, and loved his hometown and adopted city of Urbandale.
"Justin was intense, in all facets of his personality," Farrington said. "Justin wanted to be part of something bigger than himself."
After the funeral, Martin's body was driven across town along flag-lined streets and through farmland for burial in Rosehill Cemetery.