Fallen Grand Prairie police officer A.J. Castaneda was laid to rest Thursday. The officer, who was killed last week when he was knocked off a highway overpass by an out-of-control driver, was publicly memorialized at The Potter's House in Dallas before being interred in a private ceremony.
The procession left the funeral home in Arlington at 8:00 a.m. and drove past the Grand Prairie Police Department, where dozens of people lined up to pay their last respects.
"It's a family that's lost so much. The mother who has lost a son and children who have lost a father," said Dusty Nichols, who brought her young grand children to witness the event. "With my son being on the force, it's like the military thing, we're all a family and when one hurts, we all hurt."
Former Grand Prairie Police Officer Mitchell Lee brought his 8-year old daughter, Maddie, to watch.
"She had to feel Daddy come home on his good days and his bad days, so she understands all that," Lee said. "I'm pretty sure they already know this department stands behind them 100-percent and will support them forever."
The procession went from the police department to the Potter's House in Dallas for a funeral service.
Following the public ceremony, portions of which can be watched below, Castaneda, surrounded by loved ones in a private ceremony, was interred at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery Thursday afternoon.
Castaneda, 38, was killed in the line duty Friday, June 7, after a 17-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into him as he worked outside of his vehicle along the President George Bush Turnpike, police said.
Castaneda was parked on the shoulder running radar, standing outside of his SUV patrol vehicle, when he was struck and thrown from the elevated roadway.
"He had a real good sense of humor. He had a sensitive aspect to him as well dealing with kids in particular," said Carlos Canelos, Castaneda's best friend. "Just helping people out. He would go above and beyond in his work and even with his friendship."
Castaneda is survived by his parents, Albert Castaneda Sr and Patricia Fay Castaneda; son, Elisha Jacob Castaneda; stepdaughter, Zoe Pineda; grandmother, Alicia Castaneda; brother, Daniel Castaneda and wife, Dianna; niece, Caydence Castaneda; and girlfriend, Noemi Aroste Hurtado.