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Officer Bonaminio's funeral draws thousands

November 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
It was a somber day in Riverside, as thousands of people gathered at Grove Community Church in Riverside to say goodbye to a fallen police officer and Iraq War veteran.From all across the state, the country and even the other side of globe, officers came to pay tribute to Officer Ryan Bonaminio.

The funeral procession stretched for more than a mile as members of law enforcement honored the sacrifice made by one of their own.

It's the first time the Riverside Police Department lost an officer in the line of duty since 2001.

Bonaminio's life was filled with sacrifice. The 27-year-old served two tours in Iraq as a military police officer, and then returned home to join the Riverside Police Department.

"To Ryan, I thank you for your tremendous sacrifice you've made for the people of this city and this nation," said Doug Spencer, a friend of Bonaminio's. "Today, you don't salute this nation. The nation salutes you."

Even though Bonaminio lost his life, his mother says he's still here.

"As I look out my window and see a black and white driving by, I know my Ryan is still protecting me," Geraldine Bonaminio said.

Those who served with Bonaminio also spoke about his courage.

"There are no words to describe this boy's personality," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Duxbury, who knew Bonaminio. "At barely 20 years old, he was still playing video games and collecting G.I. Joe., and there he was in downtown Baghdad with his game face on, keeping us all alive and safe."

The day ended with tears and a final salute to the fallen officer.

But Bonaminio's father reminded everyone that his son died doing what he loved. To the very end, his father said he served with honor protecting his city, protecting his country and protecting his family.

"He never let us down," Joe Bonaminio said. "Not once did he let this family down, and last Sunday, he didn't let his family down."

Bonaminio is now being credited with helping the investigation into his alleged killer.

"I can't help but believe that Ryan has been part of this investigation from the beginning, that he's been guiding our hand from the very earliest points because the investigation really has gone off without a hitch," said Chief Sergio Diaz during a news conference.

Authorities said Bonaminio was following 44-year-old Earl Ellis Green of Rubidoux after Green allegedly stole a big rig on Nov. 7. Green is accused of ambushing Bonaminio in Fairmount Park, ignoring the officer's pleas to spare his life and murdering him in cold blood.

Green was a six-time convicted felon who was out on parole at the time of the shooting. He was charged with murder with special circumstances Monday. Prosecutors have not yet said whether they will pursue a death penalty.

A memorial fund has been set up for Bonaminio:

Riverside Police Officers Association
In care of: Ryan Bonaminio
(951) 784-1035
1965 Chicago Ave, #B
Riverside, CA 92507


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