Police officers on both coasts are paying their respects after a detective in Los Angeles and an officer in Virginia died this week.
Processions were held on Saturday for Sheriff’s Detective Amber Leist, 41, in Los Angeles County, and Officer Katie Thyne, 24, in Newport News, Virginia.
Leist was off duty earlier this month when she was struck and killed by a car after helping an elderly pedestrian who had fallen while crossing the street.
Memorial services were held for Leist on Saturday at the Mosaic Church on Hollywood Boulevard, where hundreds of law enforcement officers packed in to pay respects.
Processions were held on Saturday for Sheriff’s Detective Amber Leist, 41, (left) in Los Angeles County, and Officer Katie Thyne, 24, (right) in Newport News, Virginia
Deputies transport the casket of Detective Leist to a memorial service on Saturday
Deputies salute during the transfer of Detective Leist’s casket for a memorial service
Officers pay their respects to the flag-draped coffin of Detective Amber Leist Saturday in LA. Leist was off duty when she was struck by a car after she helped an older woman cross a street
A memorial procession transports Detective Leist’s casket to the Mosaic Church
‘Since her passing, I’ve come to find out that she left a gigantic void in the hearts of many in our department, particularly those at West Hollywood station,’ Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at the service
‘Amber’s commitment to service is a reflection of what the men and women of the sheriff’s department do every day,’ he continued.
The fatal crash took place at around 11am at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Whitsett Avenue in the Valley Village neighborhood as West Hollywood Station Leist was returning to her vehicle.
Leist, a mother of two, leaves behind a 20-year-old son who’s in the US Navy and a 17-year-old boy.
Leist, a 12-year veteran of the department, was rushed to an area hospital after being struck by the car, and was pronounced dead.
Leist, a 12-year veteran, leaves behind a 20-year-old son who’s in the US Navy and a 17-year-old boy
The driver of the car that claimed Leist’s life reportedly remained at the scene and attempted to render aid.
‘Today, the LASD is grieving. We are shocked and stunned by the sudden loss of a family member,’ Villanueva told reporters. ‘God had a better plan for her and she was called home.’
According to the sheriff, the detective leaves behind two sons: a 20-year-old who is currently on active duty in the US Navy and his 17-year-old brother.
The sheriff said during the press conference that Leist was waiting at a red light to make a left turn when she noticed two people crossing the street, and one of them stumbled and fell.
She put her vehicle in park, walked over to the crosswalk, helped the senior citizen up and led her across the intersection to the sidewalk.
As the detective was making her way back to her vehicle, Villanueva said a car traveling eastbound on Riverside Drive hit her when the light turned green.
LAPD Commander Marc Reina said the driver is cooperating with the investigation, which is ongoing. So far, no charges have been filed.
Detective Leist was off duty when she helped an elderly woman cross the road, and was truck by a passing vehicle as she returned to her own car. The driver stayed at the scene
Hundreds of law enforcement officers packed Mosaic Church in Los Angeles on Saturday for a memorial service for Detective Leist
Deputies hug Detective Leist’s father Daniel Leist at an emotional service on Saturday
On the opposite coast, Officer Katherine, ‘Katie’ Thyne, 24, a mother-of-one, leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, after what should have been a routine traffic stop in Newport News, Virginia turned tragic.
At a procession on Saturday, the hearse carrying Thyne’s casket paused at it passed the department’s South Precinct.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew knelt for a moment beside the hearse, before rising and giving a final salute.
It was silent as the procession approached and when Drew gave the final salute. The sound of sirens broke the silence as the procession continued.
At a press conference earlier this week, Drew said the young officer was one of two who were talking to the driver on Thursday evening, in the area of 16th Street and Walnut Avenue.
He said the officers were investigating potential drug-related issues linked to the male driver of the car and his female passenger, though an arrest had not been made.
Drew said the man put his foot on the pedal and accelerated away .
‘One officer was able to step out of the way, she was not,’ he said. ‘She was inside the door, between the door and the vehicle, she was dragged about a block and the vehicle struck a tree and there was an impact there.’
Officer Katherine, ‘Katie’ Thyne, 24, a mother-of-one, leaves behind a two-year-old daughter, after what should have been a routine traffic stop in Newport News, Virginia turned tragic
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew falls to one knee and touches the hearse carrying Officer Katherine Thyne outside of the Police Department South Precinct on Saturday
The driver of the vehicle, who the officers were questioning about drug-related issues, sped away after the incident yesterday but crashed nearby and has been arrested and taken into custody.
The police chief said Thyne suffered multiple injuries and was taken to a local hospital where she died, despite the medical professionals’ best efforts.
‘Medical personnel did a phenomenal job…the nursing staff, the surgeons they did outstanding work, very respectful,’ he said in an emotional statement on the death of his colleague.
Drew also paid an emotional tribute to his fallen colleague. At times during the press conference the officer broke off mid-sentence, as he struggled to contain his tears.
Drew recalled the moment he met the young aspiring officer.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew becomes emotional while speaking about officer Katie Thyne during a press conference Friday morning
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew, center, is comforted by other police officers after speaking about officer Katie Thyne during a press conference Friday morning
‘I remember when I met her, she sat across from me, in my office,’ he said. ‘This is what she wanted to do, she wanted to be in law enforcement, and she wanted to do it in this city.
‘She was very active in the community, if you ever met her, if you ever saw her, all she would do was smile, you would almost start to laugh at her because she was always smiling.’
Mr said the loss of such a dedicated officer would be challenging for the community, for her colleagues and her loved ones.
‘Katie was a true hero, she served this community, so as we move forward there is a lot of healing that has to take place.’