Family and friends were saluted as they entered the Genesis Convention Center Sunday to honor a Gary police officer who was killed while on-duty on his birthday.
Officer Jeff Westerfield, 47, was shot and killed last Sunday. Officials said he was responding to a call of shots fired a few miles south of downtown Gary, Indiana and a citizen discovered him unresponsive in a parked squad car hours later.
“Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield courageously stood his post for 19 years,” Chief Wade Ingram said Sunday. “Representing what is best in society, going into places that the average person fears, to threats, seeing things no one wants to see.”
The services began Sunday with visitation from 2-8 p.m. at the center in downtown Gary. A funeral is schedule for 11 a.m. Monday at the same center.
Westerfield was a 19-year veteran of the police force with four daughters and a fiancee. He planned to retire next August, family members said.
"My prayers are with his family," said resident Keith Stone. "He was a good officer. The world’s just rough nowadays and you know you need as many good people as you can possibly get. You know, the world needs help."
Police were questioning three people, one of which was described as a "person of interest," last week, but no charges have been filed.
“They took my world away,” Westerfield's fiancee, Denise Cather, said. “They took my best man away. …They just took him.”