On Wednesday, Sept. 12, a week after his death, Harford County Sheriff's Office Corporal Charles Licato, #553, was laid to rest in Bel Air Memorial Gardens.
Hundreds of mourners, including family, friends and colleagues from across the state, said farewell to the deputy who was called compassionate, caring, loving and a practical jokester.
Cpl. Licato, 34, who lived in Cecil County, died early the morning of Sept. 6 on Route 1 in the Darlington area. A cause of the crash has not been determined.
A couple hundred uniformed and plainclothes deputies stood at attention outside Mountain Christian Church Wednesday morning to salute Cpl. Licato as he arrived ahead of his family. The same deputies followed their fallen colleague inside the church.
Honor guards from across the region held flags and arms high in the air.
Cpl. Licato was greeted by Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane, who stood with Harford County Executive David Craig, Harford County State's Attorney Joe Cassilly and a host of other government officials and local police chiefs.
Cpl. Licato, as well his older brother, Donnie, followed in the footsteps of their father, Donald Licato, when they joined the police profession. Donald Licato retired as a Baltimore City homicide detective then went to work for the Aberdeen Police Department. Donnie has been a sheriff's deputy for three years. Among the three of them, they have 53 years of police service.
Cpl. Licato's mother and father, Donald and Barbara Licato, spoke of their son, how proud they are of him and how special he was.
Cpl. Licato loved his nephews, Chase and Nate, and whenever they were working on something together and they finished up the project, Cpl. Licato would always say "Good job, buddy."
Chase and Nate wrote a letter to their uncle and godfather that was read during the service by Donnie Licato's wife, Shannon. The boys told Cpl. Licato that they have awfully big shoes to fill and how they will miss him and now he's one of God's angels.
Cpl. Licato was also like a younger brother to Eric Davidson, who is best friends with Donnie Licato.
Growing up, he said, the younger brother always knew what buttons to push, how to push them and when.
Bane spoke highly of Cpl. Licato, and recalled he was one of the first to ask the new sheriff to ride along with him when he first took office.
Cpl. Licato shared two things with Bane, the sheriff said. One was Cpl. Licato's ideas for how the sheriff's office should be run. The other was that the sheriff was picking up the tab for lunch.
"And as you all know, Charlie could eat," Bane said.
Harford County Sheriff's Cpl. Alistair Dais said Cpl. Licato was his best friend, and he could tell all kinds of Charlie stories.
"And I know the good ones," Dais said.
After the service, a procession of hundreds of cars followed Route 152 to the Bel Air Bypass. Along the way, a few dozen people stopped alongside the road to pay say goodbye, including a young boy in a small motorized police car.
"We're here to show respect," Miranda Gentry, who lives in the Stoneybrook neighborhood off Route 152, said.
The procession led Cpl. Licato to Bel Air Memorial Gardens to be buried.