Family, friends, fellow law enforcement and community members gathered Friday to attend the funeral of slain Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer.
Friday’s funeral service for Boyer was held at Calvary Chapel, located at 12808 Woodruff Ave. in Downey. It began about 10 a.m. and lasted for more than an hour and a half.
The service will be immediately followed by a procession to Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary at 3888 Workman Mill Road in Whittier, where a 21-gun salute and a "missing man flyover" will be part of the graveside services.
At the funeral, Boyer was remembered by his friend and sometime bandmate, Whittier Police Department Chief Jeff Piper. The chief told Boyer's family that the department "will always be there for you."
"Keith is a hero and heroes never die. Keith would tell us not to be sad, for he's in a better place," Piper said, tearing up. "He’s playing drums with the most magnificent band imaginable."
Boyer was hired by the department in 1989 and spent time as a dispatcher, jailer and reserve before becoming a police officer in 1990.
Immediately following his death, Boyer was described as “the best of the best,” by Piper.
"He was respected for his many years of experience and younger officers looked to him for advice and guidance, so did his sergeants," Piper said.
Boyer was the department's first death since the late 1970s.
He leaves behind grown children, played the drums in a band, including with Piper, and had recently been talking about retirement, Piper said the day Boyer was killed.
Friday's ceremony began with a forceful start from Senior Pastor James Kaddis of Calvary Chapel Signal Hill.
“I believe I speak on behalf of the Lord himself when I say this, as a minister of the gospel. As the whole world is watching, we want you to understand one thing: When you come against the police, you come against God,” Kaddis said. “If you come against law enforcement, you come against that which God has ordained to protect, and you are fighting God himself. If that means that you come against law enforcement by being the element on the street of evil that they contact every day, you are coming against God. If you are writing legislation that comes against police, you are coming against God.”
He urged non-law enforcement mourners to do whatever they can to support officers.
Kaddis, a friend of the Boyer family, acted as master of ceremonies during the funeral and gave a passionate and fiery pastor's message.
"Each and every single one of you, whether or not you want to admit or whether or not you want to like it, are ministers of God," he told the hundreds of officers in the room.
Kaddis introduced his Pastor Jeff Johnson, Piper, and Boyer's former partner Mike Carson, as well as family members.
Carson described Boyer as a supportive friend and coworker who never complained. He said Boyer was a "big nerd," describing a practical joke a sergeant played on the officer when they were testing out new radios.
Boyer's children eulogized their father and sang "Amazing Grace."
"We knew as kids growing up what our father did, and the risk, but my dad never showed fear," said son Joseph Wayne Boyer. "He absolutely loved his job."
California Pizza Kitchen locations across Southern California plan, when solicited, to donate 20 percent of customers' checks to support Boyer's family from March 6 to 8.
Michael Christopher Mejia, the man suspected of killing Boyer, was charged Wednesday with two counts of murder and one count each of attempted murder, carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Mejia, 26, is accused of shooting Boyer hours after allegedly killing his cousin, Roy Torres, in East Los Angeles.
If convicted, Mejia faces the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole.