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Thousands honor two Connecticut police officers killed in the line of duty

A combined funeral was held Friday for two Bristol police officers at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

Dustin DeMonte and Alex Hamzy were killed in an apparent ambush last week while responding to a 911 call. Three officers were shot in an attack involving at least 80 rounds of gunfire. State investigators say they were lured there.

Hundreds of police motorcycles led a procession that halted at a tunnel leading into the field. The police leading the motorcade were from places that included North Providence, Rhode Island, and Larchmont, New York.
The flag-draped coffins of DeMonte and Hamzy were carried onto the field by fellow officers and placed in front of a stage. A third officer, Alec Iurato, was wounded and then shot the gunman. Iurato took part in the procession at the funeral, carrying a ceremonial flag.

Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould addressed the gathering.

“As a leader, we often hear the phrase ‘lead by example.’ However, that is not enough. You must be an excellent example. Sgt. Dustin DeMonte and Officer Alex Hamzy are the epitome of excellence,” Gould said.

The two officers were formally given posthumous promotions to the ranks of lieutenant and sergeant.

“The new lieutenant and sergeant have made their expectations very clear for us – to be forever exceptional, a very high expectation indeed. However, together, we will prevail,” Gould said.

Hamzy’s father, Ahmad, shared a loving tribute that touched on his family’s roots in Lebanon and his late son’s love and service for the United States.

Hamzy's wife, Katie, read words of faith for wives of police officers that she first read years ago, when her husband became an officer.

“While you may know my officer as a number, know he is far more than that. He is my hero, my protection, the love of my life, and of course my heart,” she said. “I love you, Alex.”

DeMonte was praised as honest, trustworthy and hardworking. Fellow officers and those who knew him off-duty talked about him dancing with his wife at his wedding and having fun on a golf course.

DeMonte is survived by his pregnant wife, Laura, and his children, Phoebe and Porter.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you, two of the very best humans, so kind, positive and fun-loving,” said Laura DeMonte. “Dustin, my love … the kids and I are honored to call you ours.”

Fellow Bristol police officer Zach Levine sent a message of peace to his former colleagues.

“Rest easy, Lt. DeMonte and Sgt. Hamzy. We’ll take it from here.”

State police organizing the funeral didn’t have a final count of attendees early Friday afternoon, but a sergeant said they’d planned for full capacity of the football stadium, which holds about 40,000 people.

Watch the full video of Friday's service:

This story contains information from the Associated Press.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.
Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.
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