More than 18,000 people gathered at Oracle Arena in Oakland today for a funeral for four local police officers who were fatally shot Saturday.
Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, of Tracy; Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, of Danville; Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, of Castro Valley; and Officer John Hege, 41, of Concord, were honored during the memorial.
There was not enough room in the arena to accommodate all of the attendees, according to Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason, who said the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum nearby was used for the overflow crowd.
The officers' coffins, draped in American flags, were brought in the arena's north entrance one-by-one, with each hearse receiving a motorcycle escort by police while their colleagues stood at attention and saluted the fallen men.
Police say the officers were killed by 26-year-old Oakland resident Lovelle Mixon, an ex-felon who was wanted on a no-bail warrant for allegedly violating his parole by failing to meet with his parole officer.
Mixon was killed at the end of his confrontation with police.
Acting Oakland police Chief Howard Jordan spoke at the ceremony, saying "we wonder how is it possible that this could have happened," and that "we remember our fallen comrades for their smiles, their personalities ... and their time with us."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and state Attorney General Jerry Brown were also scheduled to speak at the funeral.
Thomason said law enforcement officers from throughout the nation, as well as from foreign countries, are in the city to pay tribute to the
Gary Delagnes, president of the San Francisco Police Officer's Association, said the turnout is "unbelievable."
Delagnes said an estimated 15,000 police officers were here from around the country, and that the 8,000 seats set aside in the arena for police had filled up long before the ceremony began.
These included a contingent of eight Pleasanton motorcycle officers from the department's traffic division with more Pleasanton officers also attending the service.
Delagnes said between 400 and 500 San Francisco police officers, or roughly a quarter of the department's workforce, were attending the funeral.
"We're happy to be a part of this and we can all feel like we're one family," he said.
Outside agencies were policing Oakland today to free up local officers for the funeral.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office took the lead in that effort, assisted by the California Highway Patrol and police from Berkeley, San Leandro and the East Bay Regional Park District.
CHP Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said the agency allowed trucks to drive on Interstate Highway 580 to alleviate traffic near the funeral.
The CHP was also providing traffic control and escorting the families into and out of the arena, and may close ramps as needed along Highway 880, Interstate Highway 980, state Highway 238, Interstate Highway 680, and Interstate Highway 580 to make way for motorcades.