BEDFORD, Texas (AP) — Thousands of people gathered for a memorial service Saturday for a North Texas police officer who was fatally shot by a suspect, as speakers remembered a good officer and a caring man with a bright smile.
“It is a sad day for the city of Euless and its citizens,” said Jim Pack, chaplain of the Euless Police Department, as he opened the service. “It’s a reminder that safety in a free society comes with a high price.”
Euless officer David Hofer, who was 29, was gunned down Tuesday while responding to reports of shots fired in a park. Other officers fatally shot 22-year-old Jorge Brian Gonzalez, who police say had ambushed the officers.
Police Chief Mike Brown told those gathered at the service that Hofer — a New York police officer for five years before joining the Euless police force two years ago — was the best officer he could be. Brown said Hofer had a smile that could “light up the moon.”
“David Hofer was one of those rare people you meet in life who led with his heart,” Brown said.
Hofer’s fiancée, Marta Danylyk, told the story of Hofer surprising her with a proposal during a ride-along. “He went out of his way to give me exactly what I wanted my proposal to be, I didn’t know it was going to be in a parking lot,” she said with a laugh.
Earlier, as the procession took Hofer’s body from a funeral home to a stadium in Bedford, people stood solemnly on bridges and alongside the freeway. When the procession arrived at the nearly full stadium, uniformed officers stood at attention and saluted until Hofer’s casket and Euless police officers had passed by. One side of the stadium was filled with officers, all in uniforms.
Hofer was born in New Jersey and lived in Germany, Switzerland and New York, as his father, a mathematics professor, moved to different schools. The family moved to New York when Hofer was in fifth grade, after the father accepted a position at New York University.
Hofer, the youngest of three children, graduated from NYU in 2008. He started his career as an auxiliary officer, the unarmed but uniformed volunteer part of the New York Police Department. He later worked in the NYD’s 9th Precinct in the East Village.
In 2014, Hofer moved to Plano, seeking a break from the intensity of patrolling New York’s streets.