Police and the public are gathering together Saturday morning to honor a fallen Euless officer.
Euless police officer David Hofer was killed Tuesday, ambushed by Jorge Brian Gonzalez, who allegedly stole firearms from a home, fired random shots and took a “position of cover” hours after being released from Euless City Jail.
Hofer was one of the first officers to reach J.A. Carr Park that afternoon, and Gonzalez, hiding in a drainage ditch while waiting for responding officers, opened fire on Hofer. Another officer returned fire, and Hofer and Gonzalez were pronounced dead at hospitals soon after.
The procession to transport Hofer’s body from Lucas Funeral Home in Hurst to Pennington Field will begin at 11:15 a.m. Law enforcement vehicles have lined up for the procession on Precinct Line Road, which will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon from just north of Bedford Euless Road to Airport Freeway.
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Officers have gathered in the street as they wait for the procession to begin, talking in groups and taking photos of the sight. Residents have also begun to gather and line the street to show their support for Hofer, his friends and family, and his law enforcement brethren.
“These men and women are out here every day to take care of us, and the least we can do is show up and honor them,” said Connie Scott of Hurst. She and her husband, Robert Scott, stood next to the procession vehicles holding American flags.
“We’re here to hold a flag and show a lot of love,” Connie Scott said. “We can’t understand everything they’re going through, but we can show up and support them and let the flag do the talking.”
Lesa Hayen of Fort Worth looked around at the officers gathering to honor one of their own. Her husband, James Hayen, has been a police officer for more than 30 years, she said, and this kind of tragedy hits hard at home.
“My heart breaks for his (Hofer’s) fiance, and his family, but most of all her because they had a future planned and one person decided they shouldn’t have that future,” Lesa Hayen said. “We can honor him by appreciating what these men and women do, understanding they see things we can’t begin to imagine.”
Hayen said a small act of going out of your way to thank an officer for his or her service can have a big positive impact.
“It makes a big difference to see the support of everyday people,” Hayen said. “Just by saying thank you and being respectful when you get pulled over, it makes a big difference.”
Hayen and officers said it’s extremely beneficial for officers from around the area to gather for the memorial procession.
“We’re all a team, brothers and sisters helping each other out,” said William Ryan, a Caddo Mills patrol officer. “We have each other’s back.”
Ryan said the tragic event has sparked a lot of support from the public, which is meaningful to officers to know that “a lot of the community has our back.”
The service begins at 1 p.m. Pennington Field, 1501 Central Drive, Bedford. Pennington Field seats 12,500 people and there will be sections dedicated for family, law enforcement and the public.
On Wednesday, many in the town were in mourning after the shooting shook the area. Flags across Euless flew at half-staff, and law enforcement officers from across Tarrant County saluted the funeral home hearse that drove Hofer’s body away from the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
Hofer, 29, had worked in Euless since 2014, after moving from New York, where he had been an officer with the New York Police Department for five years. Friends and family have said he moved to Euless to be in a safer place.
“My heart goes out to Officer Hofer’s family during this difficult time,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to ensure that our communities are safe, and we can never say thank you enough. Cecilia and I will keep the officer’s family and the entire Euless community in our thoughts and prayers as they heal from this tragedy.”
Many other police departments and officers have voiced their sympathies and support for Hofer’s family, friends and colleagues.
“It’s a sad day for this community, this region, and the state of Texas,” Euless Police Chief Michael Brown said. “We lost a friend. A family lost a son and a brother. A fiance lost the love of her life.”
Two official funds have been set up. You may make checks payable to EPBO (Euless Police Benevolent Organization), My Credit Union, 1014 N. Industrial Blvd., Euless, TX 76039 or Gofundme, Official Euless PD, Ofr. David Hofer, http://tinyurl.com/hpzaco3.
This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.