About 1,500 law enforcement officers joined more than 1,000 other mourners Monday at a funeral for a one of two Iowa police officers who were fatally shot just minutes apart last week.
Troves of uniformed officers slowly filed into a West Des Moines church to remember Sgt. Anthony Beminio, the 38-year-old sergeant who was killed early Wednesday while sitting in his patrol car. His death came minutes after Officer Justin Martin was fatally shot in nearby Urbandale. An Urbandale man has been charged in both killings.
Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert told mourners about Beminio's commitment to his job, other officers and the community. In all his interactions with co-workers and citizens, Wingert said Beminio was authentic and enthusiastic.
"Everything Tony did, he did from the heart," Wingert said.
After reading a Bible verse about accepting a special mission, Wingert added, "God sent Anthony Beminio and we're all better for it."
Struggling to control his emotions, Wingert concluded, "I'm absolutely heartbroken. God bless Tony Beminio."
It has been a difficult year for the Des Moines Police Department, which in March mourned two officers who died in a fiery car crash when a drunken driver traveling the wrong direction plowed into their squad car. A prisoner that the officers were transporting also was killed.
People waited along the processional route near the Des Moines cemetery where Beminio was to be buried.
"They need all the support that they can get," said Randy James, of West Des Moines. "The city is hurting right now."
A funeral for Martin will be held Tuesday in his hometown of Rockwell City.