Hundreds of mourners and law enforcement officials packed St. Stephen Church in Bradshaw, just over the Harford County line, to lay to rest Aberdeen Police Ofc. Charles Armetta.
The church was overflowing with guests, who included officials Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett, Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane, Havre de Grace Police Chief Teresa Walter, Aberdeen Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck and Harford County Councilman Joe Woods.
Many of the mourners wore blue ribbons on their lapels with Ofc. Armetta's name.
The City of Aberdeen and the law enforcement community have been reeling from the death of Ofc. Armetta, a K-9 officer from Joppa, who died Sept. 8 when he fell off an I-95 bridge in Baltimore. He was 29 years old.
Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert said he did not originally think Maverick, Ofc. Armetta's chosen dog, would be a good fit for the officer.
"I was sure he would wash out," Trabert said, but Ofc. Armetta insisted: "This is our dog."
Soon, they become an "unstoppable team," Trabert said, and it was clear Ofc. Armetta was destined to be a major part of the department, who was deeply committed to the K-9 unit.
Trabert described Armetta as charismatic, friendly, dedicated and devoted to his family, as Ofc. Armetta's brothers and sister also made clear.
Anthony Armetta noted the police department became like a second family to Ofc. Armetta.
His siblings also remembered his humor and mentioned funny things he said or did, getting the congregation to laugh.
Patrick Armetta read a letter from Ofc. Armetta's mother in which she remembered how close Ofc. Armetta was to her and how she wished she could have protected her son from his untimely and fatal accident.
"I should have been there," she said in the letter.
Rosalie Armetta-Popp called her brother an "amazing person."
Ofc. Armetta's wife, Heather, talked softly about her husband and the father of their daughter, Adrianna, who just turned 1.
"To know Charles is to know dedication and hard work," she said. "To know Charles is to know a man who made me laugh."
She also recalled his more amusing moments and noted he was "like Martha Stewart" at home.
Outside the church, Maverick the dog tried to frolic in the grass as Patrick Armetta kept watch over him.
Ofc. Armetta is one of three Harford County law enforcement officials to die suddenly within the last week.
Two Harford County Sheriff's deputies also died, one in a car crash and one from a heart attack.
Members of a number of law enforcement agencies, including the Cecil County Sheriff's Office, the Bel Air Police and Baltimore Police, were at Ofc. Armetta's funeral.
After the funeral, bagpipe players and a color guard performed before the casket was escorted to Bel Air Memorial Gardens where Ofc. Armetta was buried.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun