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A final salute to a fallen Police Officer

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NEW CASTLE, Pennsylvania - Shenago Township Police Officers stand in honor of their fallen comrade in front of St. Vitus Parish, along with hundreds of other law enforcement officers from all over Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The flag draped casket of Officer William "Jerry" McCarthy was carried from a century old church in New Castle and taken to it's final resting place in Grove City.

The Shenango Township Police Officer was killed in the line-of-duty, as he tried to provide back-up to a neighboring police department last Thursday.

He was the passenger in a cruiser that was broad-sided by a woman allegedly fleeing New Castle Police.

St. Vitus Church was filled to capacity with law enforcement officers as well as family and friends of Officer McCarthy who wanted to pay their final respects and honor his life.

Officer Mike Lengauer worked with McCarthy for five years as a safety officer at Grove City College.

"The thing with Jerry was, this was his job. He lived for this. His big goal was people's safety and the last words he ever told you was, God Bless, be careful out there. I mean today pays a real tribute to what he was like. He was well liked by everybody," said Officer Lengauer.

... And that was clear by the hundreds of people in attendance, some who helped Officer McCarthy's visibly distraught wife into the church.

Officer McCarthy not only dedicated his life to police service according to those who knew and loved him, he also worked as a humane agent and county investigator. But many knew him best as a beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend.

"For the officers of Lawrence County, we have lost a living example of what is meant by the police motto, to protect and serve. He was the consumate professional and an example of compassionate policing. And for all the men and women who wear a badge in service -- our thin blue line has become even thinner," said Josh Lamancusa, the Lawrence County District Attorney.

Officer McCarthy's son Michael McCarthy, who is a firefighter, delivered a tearful eulogy. Reading the letter he wrote to his father to celebrate his life, "Man we all miss you. Everyone's in shock. You made a difference buddy. You made a big difference. ... I'm sure you're busy patrolling those heavenly streets. I just want to let you know I love you man."

As bagpipes play and hundreds of officers line the streets standing shoulder to shoulder, they raise their hand to give one final salute to the man many are calling a hero.

A man of character, courage and heart who literally gave his life to serve and protect others.

Shirley Dominelli of Ellwood City says she's never met Officer McCarthy, but felt compelled to come to the church and honor his name, "It's a loss to everybody."

A law enforcement officer who didn't identify himself had tears in his eyes and said, "When it comes to those who wear the badge, it's all for one, and one for all."

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