LONGWOOD, Fla. - A memorial service for slain Windermere police Officer Robert German was held Thursday morning at Northland Church in Longwood.
The service began with a piper's salute, with the Pipes and Drums of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Dr. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, gave the welcome and opening prayer.
Windermere Police Chief Dave Ogden then spoke of his fallen officer, calling German and his family heroes.
"Robbie was a good cop," Ogden said. "He was dedicated, committed."
Ogden also spoke of German's hard work ethic and humble and positive attitude.
"Thank you so very much for all of your support," said German's father, Tim, speaking on behalf of his family. "Our son has been taken from us, all of us, in an instant of tragic desperation at a time in his life when he was so very happy."
Windermere police Officer Justin Latimer talked about his former roommate. While Latimer was speaking, yelling occurred in the background, but it's not clear what it was about.
"I apologize everybody," Latimer said after the yelling stopped.
Latimer also said German was intent on finding a wife and preparing for the future.
"He was like a ray of sunshine," said German's best friend, Matt Watkins, who spoke after Latimer. "I am so grateful for the time I got to have with him."
German's high school friend, Andrea Gallego-Patrick, said German was great with birthdays in an emotional speech.
German was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of Conroy-Windermere Road and Horizon Circle. The suicidal teens suspected in his slaying, 18-year-old Brandon Goode and 17-year-old Alexandria Hollinghurst, were found dead in nearby bushes.
At the conclusion of the memorial service, law enforcement officers led a processional to Oaklawn Park Cemetery at 5000 County Road 46A in Sanford, closing both north and southbound lanes of Rinehart Road.
German was then laid to rest.
On Wednesday night, family and friends of German gathered at Northland Church for a visitation.
German's mother and father were saluted by an honor guard as they left the church, hand in hand.
"He was one of the finest, best young men that I've ever known, and Robbie will be missed," said Ann Ganesh, a family friend.
Meanwhile, the town of Windermere said it will also host a candlelight memorial service at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Central Park, 436 Oakdale St.
Goode's family released a statement on Wednesday, saying they were overwhelmed with grief and searching for answers. It was a day after deputies released handwritten letters, including a suicide note, written by Goode and Hollinghurst.
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