INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis police officer who died after being shot during a traffic stop was hailed as a hero Tuesday by public safety leaders and family members who urged officers in the beleaguered department to live up to his example.
Officer David Moore's father, retired Indianapolis police Lt. Spencer Moore, urged hundreds of officers gathered for his son's funeral in Conseco Fieldhouse to try to make the fallen officer as proud of them as they are of him.
"Let David's legacy be we will strive to make him as proud of us as we are of him by doing the right thing for the right reason, not just for a few but for all those we are sworn to serve and protect," he said.
Moore, 29, was shot four times — twice in the face — on Jan. 23 and died three days later. The shooting occurred less than two weeks after prosecutors refiled drunken driving charges against an Indianapolis officer involved in a fatal crash. That accident and the police beating of a mixed-race teenager in May have marred officers' image during the past year, leading to a well-publicized rift between line officers and top brass.
But officers and officials were united in grief Tuesday for Moore.
Chief Paul Ciesielski said Moore was as an example of what a police officer should be.
"While we grieve, we will not waiver" from trying to rebuild the police department's image, Ciesielski said. "Recommit yourself to your calling, be proud of your uniform and strive to be no less than Moore."
"As difficult as this heroic path is, we have all been humbled. It should be our hope that we all have learned," said William S. Westfall, whose company provides leadership training for police.
Moore's body — clad in his police uniform with a cross at his side — lay in an open, flag-draped casket as hundreds of uniformed officers and others filed past for more than an hour before the funeral began.
Two Marine Corps pianists played and images of Moore flashed on large screens overhead as speakers shared stories of the officer beneath a large U.S. flag.
Friends remembered Moore as a gutsy football player at Roncalli High School and a kid who dressed in camouflage and face paint to play flashlight tag. Most recalled him as a courageous man who dedicated his life to protecting others.
"David represents the best in his family, our city, our police department," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "He epitomizes the type of man that we want to wear that uniform."
A funeral procession from downtown Indianapolis to the city's north side for burial was canceled as central Indiana braced for an expected ice storm. Graveside services were moved to the arena and held as scheduled.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub cited an old Hungarian legend that rain at a funeral means the person mourned was great.
"Given the fact that a catastrophic winter storm is upon us, I think that says a lot about David Moore and his soul," Straub said.
At the end of the service, a police officer led a riderless horse past Moore's casket, and an honor guard fired three shots over the bowl of the fieldhouse to close the hours-long ceremony. Moore's mother, police Sgt. Jo Moore, used a police radio to issue his final sign-off.
"He has gone home for the final time," she announced.
Moore's shooting came in a deadly month for police officers nationwide and has riveted the city, which last saw a police officer killed in the line of duty in in 2004 — the same year Moore joined the police department.
Prosecutors have charged Thomas Hardy, 60, with Moore's murder. Hardy, an ex-convict, was released from jail about a month before the shooting due to a parole officer's error.