Thousands gather to mourn officer


It was a service to remember for a devoted Martinez Police Officer, whose life was cut short by the blind shot of an enraged gunman in a dark hallway.

"Giving his life, so that others may live," said Reverend Robert Rien, of Saint Ignatius of Antioch Church.

Now Sergeant Paul Starzyk's family, his parents, wife Shannon and their three young children will have to live their lives without him.

"Always honor your father's memory. His actions were heroic. Remember what he told you two weeks ago when he took you camping, his star will always be shining down to watch you," said Tom Simonetti, the Martinez Police Chief.

A 14-year-vetren, the 47-year-old Starzyk was killed last Saturday, during a shootout in an apartment building stairwell. Inside one unit, police say Felix Sandoval had already shot and killed his estranged wife's cousin Catalina Torres. He was threatening to shoot three children and three other women, when the mortally wounded Starzyk got off a shot that killed Sandoval.

"Five people are alive today because of the sacrifice of Paul Starzyk," said Reverend Rien.

Among the mourners was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Starzyk died doing what he had devoted his life to, serving and protecting others. His friends say he wouldn't have gone, any other way.

"Today we laid to rest one of our best," said Adrian Smedly, Starzyk's friend.

The service closed with a 21-gun-salute and a 24 mile police procession from concord to Brentwood for a private family service.

If you would like to donate to Starzyk's wife and three kids here is the information for a memorial fund that has been set up in Paul's honor.

Contra Costa Federal Credit Union
Starzyk Family Memorial Fund
1111 Pine Street
Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: (925) 228-7550 x855

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