Oakland police officials said that they are prepared to accommodate up to 18,000 or more people at a funeral service tomorrow for four officers who were fatally shot by a wanted parolee last Saturday.
Capt. Paul Figueroa said officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Boston Police Department and other police and fire departments from around the country are expected to attend the funeral, which will be held at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The service will begin at 11 a.m. Friday and is expected to last at least two and a half hours.
"The mission is to honor the fallen officers and their families," Figueroa said.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference at Oakland police headquarters, Figueroa became emotional after he said he's spent some time with the families of the slain officers and described them as "the most honorable folks."
The officers who will be remembered are Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, of Tracy (who was a 1987 Foothill High School grad), Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, of Danville, Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, of Castro Valley and Officer John Hege, 41, of Concord.
Police say that the officers were killed by 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon of Oakland, an ex-felon who was the subject of a no-bail parole revocation 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.
The incident began when Dunakin and Hege made a traffic stop on Mixon at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard shortly after 1 p.m. on Saturday. A vigil for the slain officers was held at that location Tuesday night.
Figueroa said there are 16,900 available seats at the Oracle Arena and another 1,200 seats on the floor level. There also are options to
accommodate more people if there is an overflow of attendees, he said.
In addition, police spokesman Jeff Thomason said it's expected that the service will be broadcast live across the nation.
Jayson Landeza of St. Columba Catholic Church in Oakland, who is the chaplain for the Oakland Police Department, will be the master of ceremonies for the funeral.
Figueroa said there will be many speakers and dignitaries and he hopes to release the complete program by Thursday night.
He said there will be formal honors for the fallen officers, including bagpipes, military cannons and helicopter flyovers.
Figueroa added that people should keep in mind that "this is four family funerals being held together" at one time.