Local
3:46 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Hundreds pay tribute to fallen police officer Patricia Parete

Hundreds of police officers, first responders, family and friends gathered Wednesday morning to remember Buffalo Police Officer Patricia Parete.

Parete died on Saturday, more than six years after suffering a paralyzing gunshot would to the spine in the line of duty in December 2006. She was 48 years old.

The Erie County Sheriff's Air One Helicopter provided an escort overhead for the cortage. Dozens of officers and an honor guard stood at attention for the arrival of the flag-draped casket.

Mayor Byron Brown was among several speakers during the service at Trinity Episcopal Church on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo. Afterward, Brown told reporters Parete touched many lives.

"Since the horrible incident that occurred to Officer Parete, I've been all around the city and people always asked about her and how she was doing. They passed along their well wishes. She certainly will be remembered as someone that touched people and brought people together," Brown said.

Parete was honored with a 21-gun salute. Buffalo Fire Department officials unfurled a large American flag across Delaware Avenue near the church. Hundreds of additional officers watched the service on video monitors at the Adam's Mark Hotel.   

Parete's death has been ruled a homicide, but District Attorney Frank Sedita has not yet decided whether he will charge Varner Harris with first-degree murder. Harris is serving 30 years-to-life in prison for the shooting, which also severely injured Officer Carl Andolina.