DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) --Hundreds of people gathered at a Downey church Friday morning to honor fallen Whittier Officer Keith Boyer, who was gunned down in the line of duty in late February.
A mileslong procession carried Boyer's casket from the Whittier Police Department to Calvary Chapel Downey, where the funeral service was held.
During the service, Chief Jeff Piper described the 53-year-old Boyer simply as "humble" and broke down toward the end of his speech.
"For you see, Keith is a hero and heroes never die. They live forever," he said. "Keith would tell us not to be sad, for he's in a better place. He's playing drums with the most magnificent band imaginable. Godspeed, Keith, my brother in law enforcement and my friend."
His children - Ashley, Joshua and Joseph - spoke toward the end of the service, remember a father who loved life, jokes and had a strong faith in God.
Joseph Boyer said it was hard to describe his father in only a few sentences, but tried his best to capture the essence of his father.
"My dad was goofy - and I mean the definition of 'dad jokes.' He would always tell corny jokes and ridiculous pick-up lines everywhere he went," Joseph Boyer said. "But that was him. He was trying to bring a smile to everyone and he did."
Joseph Boyer went on to say his father kept fake gag teeth in his car and that his father always sneezed three times. He said his father taught him to be polite, kind, realistic, have a back-up plan and to think before speaking.
"I am extremely proud of my father and proud to see how many lives he touched. I hope I can be such a man one day and have such an amazing send off as my father's had. I love you dad, and I'm going to miss you," he said.
Among those in attendance were Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. Seated between them in the church was sheriff's Detective Tanya Owen, widow of slain sheriff's Sgt. Steve Owen, who died in the line of duty in October in Lancaster.
A flag was draped over Boyer's casket Thursday night as it was loaded into the back of a hearse. It was a chance for the community to pay their respects to Boyer, the third Whittier police officer killed on the job in the department's 100-year history.
"The Whittier PD is part of the Whittier family. It just hits home so hard to lose someone," Mike McLean said.
Following a private viewing for friends and family, hundreds lined up and filed through the chapel to say goodbye.
"Officers from New York, from Chicago, from Texas, Oregon. They'll literally come from all over the United States," Officer John Scoggins said.
Boyer was shot and killed on Feb. 20 while responding to a traffic accident. The man suspected of killing him is a known gang member and had just been released on parole.
The 27-year veteran of the force was the first Whittier officer killed in the line of duty in more than 40 years.