MIAMI, Fla. (AP) -- Thousands of law enforcement officers from around the state gathered Monday at a funeral service for two fallen Miami-Dade County police officers.
The crowd filled the American Airlines Arena in downtown Miami to honor 41-year-old Roger Castillo and 44-year-old Amanda Haworth, who were killed on Thursday while serving a warrant on a suspected killer.
The suspect, 22-year-old Johnny Simms, was killed by another officer.
The service came on the same day that two other officers were shot and killed in St. Petersburg while trying to arrest a man, who was hiding in an attic, on a warrant for aggravated battery. A marshal was also injured, and the shooter was still barricaded inside the home as of midday Monday.
News of the shooting added to the already palpable grief of those gathering to mourn Castillo and Haworth. Several officers said the spate of deaths were a reminder of the dangers police face.
"The threat is so real, the shadow of death is so pronounced, that even as we gather, two officers lay dead in St. Petersburg, Florida," Walter Richardson, a chaplain for the Miami-Dade Police Department, told the officers as he stood on a stage near the flag-draped coffins of Castillo and Haworth.
Photographs of the fallen Miami-Dade officers were projected onto large screens before a sea of officers in beige and black uniforms. Haworth, a single mother, leaves behind a 13-year-old son. Castillo, whose wife is also a Miami-Dade police officer, is survived by three sons, ages 9 to 15.
Gonzalo Garcia, an officer with the Miami Springs Police Department, said he was originally planning to spend Monday at home with his 4-year-old son, who is off during a teacher work day.
"Why are you going to work?" Garcia said his son asked him.
"Because two of daddy's brothers died," Garcia said he replied.
"He tells me, 'Daddy, you're not going to die, you're going to take cover,'" Garcia said. "I said, 'Don't worry, Daddy won't die.'"
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez told the mourning officers that in the days after the shooting he'd heard countless accolades from people describing Castillo and Haworth.
"Their bravery in the face of danger is unquestioned," Alvarez said.
Oscar Garcia, another officer with Miami Springs, said the shooting had hit home. He has four children, and a fifth on the way. He said the shootings had scared his family.
"As a family man, when you see these things, you wonder if it could have been you," said Oscar Garcia, who is not related to his colleague. "It could have been any single one of us."
© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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