Emotional memorial in Tracy commemorates life, passion of fallen CHP officer

TRACY, Calif. (KGO) -- Whether in uniform or plain clothes -- heartache could be felt among the large crowd at Fry Memorial Chapel in Tracy as fallen CHP officer Andrew Camilleri was laid to rest Tuesday.

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"I didn't even know the guy," said Tracy resident Steven Manrubia. "I just feel for him and his family."

The loss is unbearable for both strangers and friends of Camilleri.

"We all attended the same church and at one time Andrew was a youth leader, and he mentored our son," said friend Liz Chavez.

Chavez and her family wanted to honor the man who gave so much to them as members of the Mission City Church. They want to be there for the wife and three kids he leaves behind.

"Being a wife and mother myself, I can't imagine," Chavez added. "I can't imagine what my friend is going through -- and to see the three children not have their father around is horrible."

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Camilleri was a leader not just on the highways but at his church.

"I feel like he was one of those leaders where you can see by example," said Chavez. "And he really led out a Christian life."

"Faith was the most important thing to Andrew," said Lead Pastor Doug Diestler.

Camilleri played bass guitar on the worship team at Mission City Church and ministered to others. "He really followed his dream to become a CHP officer and it was more than a career it was a calling for him," Diestler added.

That calling tragically came to an end on Christmas Eve while he and his partner were on duty looking for impaired drivers on I-880 in Hayward.

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"I'm very upset that someone made the decision to get behind the wheel, being under the influence. That what angers me," Chavez told ABC7 News.

For the Chavez family, they're relying on their faith to get them through this difficult period. "We can't make sense of this, we don't understand why his life was taken from him," said Chavez.

Camilleri's body will remain at the chapel overnight.

Click here to donate to the CHP memorial fund for Officer Camilleri.

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