Thursday, December 11, 1997
A hero's farewell
Officer Daniel Pope is laid to rest

BY TANYA BRICKING,
LISA DONOVAN
and MARK SKERTIC
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Officers salute as pallbearers carry the coffin of Officer Daniel Pope out of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral after the Mass of Christian burial.
(Gary Landers photo)
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In the back of a cathedral packed shoulder-to-shoulder with mourners, Linda Pope draped a white, gold-trimmed cloth over her husband's casket, leaned down and kissed it.

The city said a formal goodbye with her Wednesday as it celebrated the life and mourned the death of slain Cincinnati police Officer Daniel Pope.

Officer Pope, 35, was gunned down along with his partner, Specialist Ronald Jeter, 34, as they attempted to serve a warrant late Friday in Clifton Heights. The shooter, Alonzo Davenport, 20, fled and turned the gun on himself moments later.

About 1,200 mourners gathered inside downtown's St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Wednesday for the first of the funerals.

Spc. Jeter's funeral will be Friday in Columbus.

Thousands of other mourners - some restless and overcome, others silent and prayerful - dotted the sidewalk and filled overflow rooms at downtown's Albert B. Sabin Convention Center and in City Hall to watch the 90-minute service, which was televised live. They came to honor an ordinary man.

Officer Pope - known as ''Dan'' - was remembered for his dedication to his job and to his wife. He often worked overnight shifts removing criminals from Cincinnati's streets.

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Linda Pope, center, leaves the Cathedral with Officer Pope's mother, Mary Jane, and Sonya Zanders, fiancee of slain Spc. Ronald Jeter.
(Kevin Miyazaki photo)
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As fellow officers from District 5 sat together in the front of the church, the Rev. James Bramlage, pastor of St. Peter's, celebrated a traditional Catholic funeral Mass, blended with the pageantry that accompanies the funeral of a slain police officer.

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Daniel Pope
One of the most moving tributes was a prayer offered for the five officers who found their dying colleagues.

As mourners tried to make sense of Officer Pope's death, clergy encouraged healing. The Rev. Mark Pruden, police chaplain, voiced the frustration and outrage of his colleagues and asked the hundreds of uniformed officers in the crowd to find strength in their faith.

The crowd was mostly silent, except for an outburst of ''Amen,'' when the Rev. Pruden talked in the homily of the collective wounds left by the shootings.

''Killing a cop fractures the very foundation upon which our society is built and rips apart the very basic fabric from which our society is made,'' he said. ''Killing a cop doesn't just break the law. Killing a cop demonstrates the epitome of contempt for the God who created the world and the laws he provided. That's why an entire city grieves when a cop is killed.''

Bittersweet images

As the service concluded, a throng of family members fell into each others' arms as they followed the casket from the church.

Karl Ullrich of Delhi Township stood quietly, his gray hat pressed against his chest, as Officer Pope's casket was carried from the church to the hearse.

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Hundreds of police cars make their way along Central Avenue in procession.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
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A ''sense of sadness and responsibility'' brought him there that afternoon, he said. ''I can't really explain it, but that's what it is.''

Downtown resident Toni Whitt stood with her 4-year-old daughter, Kera, outside the church. They carried homemade signs: ''Goodbye Jeter and Pope May God Keep You Safe'' and ''May God Be With You.''

''We just wanted to say goodbye and let the police officers know we're with them,'' Ms. Whitt said.

Other images gave testimony to the devotion of the officers' colleagues.

More than 200 police cars lined the street around City Hall, three and four abreast, their flashing lights a sea of blue and red sparklers.

A bagpiper played somberly as they exited.

Police and news helicopters flew overhead as the 5.4-mile procession to the cemetery began.

A last salute

From a riderless horse to the bagpipe player's solo of ''Amazing Grace,'' the cemetery scene was a poignant image of police officers bidding farewell to a fallen comrade.

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Lisa Carr of Delhi, who attended grade school with Officer Pope, bites her lip as the procession passes her at Knowlton's Corner in Northside.
(Gary Landers photo)
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The hourlong procession to Spring Grove Cemetery included the hearse, limousines transporting family and friends, and hundreds of police officers from all over the country. Officers throughout the city's four other police districts volunteered to work Wednesday so the District 5 staff could attend the service.

The tour took the mourners past the city's memorial to fallen officers who died in the line of duty and past District 5, where both officers had worked.

In front of the Ludlow Avenue police station, firefighters raised and crossed their truck ladders over the roadway, like a stairway to heaven, and suspended a black-and-purple mourning banner from it.

Hundreds of cars, two abreast, preceded the hearse to the cemetery - many of them police cars whose whirling lights pierced the dreary afternoon. Drivers on southbound Interstate 75 pulled off the road to watch.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Bagpipe and Drum Corps led the hearse and several police and civilian vehicles through the cemetery as several officers walked next to the riderless horse.

Pallbearers unloaded the flag-draped casket and carried it about a yard through two lines of police officers, both mounted and on foot, all saluting their fallen comrade.

The casket was set on a pedestal under a 10-foot-canopy, where about 60 family members and close friends sat for the graveside service for Officer Pope, whose body will be cremated.

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Linda Pope holds the flag that draped her husband's coffin.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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Hundreds of officers stood nearby in tight formation as clergy and officials offered prayer.

Blustery winds moved the flag on the coffin, and Mrs. Pope stood to adjust it.

Police Chief Michael Snowden, his voice cracking, offered a salute to Officer Pope and Spc. Jeter. The two men had not lived long enough, he said.

''They are heroes in our hearts and that's how they'll always be remembered.''

He encouraged police recruits to remember the dedication and honor Officer Pope and Spc. Jeter brought to their jobs, families and friends.

''Today, let them be proud of us,'' Chief Snowden said.

During the 20-minute graveside ceremony, members of the police department's SWAT team gave a 21-gun salute, and District 5 Officer Tom Slade and Fire Division Lt. Ed Emley played a trumpet duet of ''Taps.''

Officers folded the flag, placing three shells from the gun salute inside the cloth, and gave it to Mrs. Pope, who hugged it tightly against her chest.

Today's report

Homily: Faith eases hurt, anger
Piper's sad song sends a fallen fellow officer home Cliff Radel column
Spc. Jeter's visitation today

Wednesday's report

Thousands pay their respects
Witness: Killer hid gun in pants
Web sites, other memorials
Pastor hopes funeral brings peace
Spc. Jeter's organs donated

Tuesday's report

911 boss admits error likely
Borgman cartoon
Shock, grief and guilt Laura Pulfer column
City thanks slain heroes
Killer's family visits his home
Many officers limited in experience
Forces across Tristate take heed
Names to be added to memorial

Monday's report

Argument preceded shooting
Tragedy puts face on job Cliff Radel column
Families lean on faith, memories
Friends, acquaintances mourn
Grief stays, say families who know
Police deaths declining

Sunday's report

Community mourns fallen officers
Suspect's family: He was 'respectful'
Sequence of events
Officers highly regarded
Officers deal with sorrow, job's risks
Chief's message: 'Take care of each other'
Hollister St. residents shocked