The funeral for slain Arlington police officer Jillian Michelle Smith was held Tuesday at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Arlington.
Immediately following the memorial service, a procession of thousands of family, friends and fellow officers headed to Moore Memorial Gardens on Randol Mill Road where Smith will be laid to rest.
Smith died last Tuesday while trying to protect an 11-year-old girl during a domestic disturbance call. Smith was shot when 38-year-old Barnes Samuel Nettles entered the apartment, pulled a weapon and opened fire. Nettles later killed the girl's mother, his ex-girlfriend Kimberly Carter, before turning the gun on himself, police said.
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Vigil, wake held for fallen officer
Hundreds of friends, family and fellow police officers -- including two from as far away as Mississippi -- gathered in front of Mount Olive Baptist Church to remember the 24-year-old rookie killed last week in the line of duty.
"Officer Smith was living her dream of being an Arlington police officer," Police Chief Theron Bowman said. "She was the perfect all-American girl turned police officer."
He recalled how Smith had wanted to be a police officer since she saw an antidrug program in the sixth grade.
Some mourners teared up as a bagpipe played "Amazing Grace." A large photo of Smith in uniform was displayed in front of a makeshift stage.
"May God bless the memory and the legacy of Officer Jillian Michelle Smith," Bowman said.
Smith, just out of training, was killed at a South Arlington apartment last week shielding an 11-year-old girl from a domestic violence suspect.
The girl managed to get away unhurt, police said, after Smith jumped between her and the gunman, who killed the officer and the girl's mother before taking his own life.
"She will be remembered as a true hero, one who sacrificed her own young life to save an even younger one," Bowman said.
Among the mourners was an old friend from elementary school.
"It's really sad we all have to be brought back together like this," said Terrinda Seemann.
She said there's one thing she'll remember most about her friend.
"She's a hero, standing in front of that little girl," she said.
From the vigil, mourners walked inside the church for a wake. Smith's family asked reporters to keep that part of the ceremony private.