WHITTIER (FOX 11/ CNS) - Law enforcement dignitaries, elected officials, police officers and sheriff's deputies from across the region and country gathered Friday for funeral services for Whittier police Officer Keith Wayne Boyer, who was killed in a gun battle that left a second officer and the suspect wounded.
Boyer's three adult children were among those eulogizing the 53-year-old father, who was remembered as a fun-loving, faith-filled dad and grandfather who loved his job and being a drummer in a rock band.
Boyer -- who had been with the department 27 years -- was killed shortly after 8 a.m. Feb. 20 after responding to a report of a traffic collision near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street, where one of the people involved in the crash pulled out a gun and opened fire. Officer Patrick Hazell, a three-year veteran of the Whittier Police Department, was shot in the abdomen but survived.
A private funeral for family and law enforcement began at 10 a.m. and following the service, Boyer's body was carried in a procession to Rose Hills Memorial Park for burial.
Among those expected to attend the funeral are Whittier police Chief Jeff Piper, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
The shooting suspect, Michael Christopher Mejia, 26, was shot in the back and hospitalized. He was charged Wednesday with capital murder.
Boyer joined the Whittier Police Department in 1989 and became a full-time police officer in 1990, according to Piper. He was a divorced father of grown children, a drummer who played in bands for nonprofit events and a ``personal friend of mine for 25 years,'' Piper said, adding he had occasionally played guitar with Boyer in a band.
``He was the best of the best,'' Piper said. ``He was humble, smiling, positive. He was a great guy and recently talked to me about retiring.''
“We always talked and he loved being a police officer and he said, 'you know one day I just may have to give my life' and he would say it tongue and cheek, but it was like he knew,” friend Steve Morin said.
“It’s been surreal hearing his name, seeing his face all over the news and you just go 'I knew him,'” friend Shelly Morin added.
Many in the community knew Boyer as a policeman, grandfather, and a talented drummer.
Jan Edwards, who wore a t-shirt with his badge number, graduated La Serna High School with him in the class of 1981.
“He was a drummer for all the music programs,” Edwards said. “He kept the beat in everyone’s hearts in high school.”
Hundreds of Whittier neighbors lined up to attend the only public viewing service for the officer.
“Anyone who does this job faces these fears and these dangers is a true hero,” neighbor Jan Mendez said.
“I just ask the Whittier community in honor of Keith and in honor of Keith’s family that they keep the love going,” Edwards added.
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