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Funeral in Roseville for fallen officer draws waves of emotions

By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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An army of law enforcement officers from around California arrived in Roseville this morning, escorting hundreds of citizens into a tear-filled memorial service for fallen Galt Police Officer, Kevin Tonn.

Tonn had strong ties to Roseville and was first introduced to law enforcement by serving on the Roseville Police Explorers when he was a teen. 

By 10:30 a.m., every parking space in front of Adventure Christian Church was filled by law enforcement vehicles from as far north as Tehema County and as far south as Los Angeles.

“I’m seeing a lot of people I know,” remarked an Amador County Sheriff’s detective. “It’s a shame it takes something this sad to bring us all together.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown was also in attendance.

As a white hearse pulled up to the front of the sanctuary, it was met by a massive formation of police K-9 handlers and their four-legged partners — a special tribute to Tonn’s love for his own police K-9, Yaro. When the honor guards were called to attention, an order was given and the lines of K-9s began yelping in a show of respect.

Tonn’s flag-draped coffin was followed into the church by an officer carrying the United States Honor Flag, the same flag that had been hoisted up by firefighters over the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11th attack.

Both tiers of Adventure Christian Church’s large sanctuary were packed shoulder to shoulder as recently retired Galt Police Chief Loren Cattolico made his way to the microphone.

“When I learned it was Kevin who had been killed, boy, I haven’t cried that hard in a long time,” Cattolico said.

The former chief then went on to read a letter that had been written to Tonn by a man he’d arrested for drunk driving. The letter-writer thanked Tonn for his extreme professionalism and then noted the arrest was the wake-up call he had needed to change his life.

Current Galt Police Chief William Bowen was the next to speak. Bowen’s heavy breaths and moments of choking up sent similar displays through the rows of seating. Bowen fought back his emotions enough to explain why he admired Tonn’s signature sense of humor and all of the contributions he had made to the City of Galt.

“We know Kevin loved being a cop,” Bowen said.    

The final speaker was Jarrod Tonn, Kevin Tonn’s cousin, best friend and fellow officer at the Galt Police Department. Jarrod Tonn had arrived by his cousin’s side several moments after he had been fatally shot on Jan. 15 in the line of duty.

“One of the things I’ll miss most is laughing with him,” Jarrod Tonn said of his cousin. “Since this happened, we’ve learned that he quietly went out of his way to touch the lives of others in ways his family and I didn’t even know about.”

When Jarrod Tonn began talking about the moments in the emergency room when Kevin Tonn had been pronounced dead, he was struck utterly silent, struggling to keep his composure. Tears filled the eyes of countless mourners across the sanctuary.

“What I want people to know is that his life and death are not a tragedy in the ultimate sense of the word,” Jarrod Tonn managed to say. “Giving one’s life to protect others is never a tragedy. Kevin knew that and lived that up until his final breath.”