St. Louis – Hundreds of police officers from dozens of jurisdictions in the bi-state area gathered at the Cathedral Basilica Tuesday morning to honor a St. Louis policeman killed in the line of duty.
Officer David Haynes was killed last week when his police car was struck broadside as he pursued a burglary suspect. That suspect, 23-year-old Sheldon Beckham, also faces second-degree murder charges.
"It has been said that every police officer knows deep in his heart that the time might come when he will make the ultimate sacrifice because of his efforts to remove dangerous criminals from our streets," Archbishop Robert Carlson said, according to prepared remarks provided by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Media were not allowed in the Cathedral for the service.
Mayor Francis Slay was in China when Haynes was killed, but called the family immediately after learning of the accident. In a statement before the service began, Slay called Haynes someone who had done much to combat "evil" in St. Louis.
"He was a true hero. Someone who served our country for four years as a Marine, did an outstanding job as an officer," the mayor said.
Haynes, 27, had been with the St. Louis police department for a little more than a year, and had recently gotten married. His widow Stephanie's uncle, Samuel Nesbitt, remembered Haynes as someone who passionate about serving others.
"To those who knew him personally, he was always in a good mood and had an intoxicating smile and personality, and left his mark on everyone he met," Nesbitt said. "He was a dearly valued friend and family member and will be greatly missed by all."