The Florida police officer fatally shot by a fugitive while on duty was mourned by family, friends and fellow officers at an emotional funeral service Saturday. The community in Tarpon Springs, just west of Tampa, lined the sidewalks as the procession for Officer Charles Kondek traveled from Idlewild Baptist Church to Grace Memorial Cemetery.
One of Kondek’s six children spoke lovingly of her father, a 17-year veteran of the Tarpon Springs police force. "My mom lost her best friend and the love of her life,” his daughter said, according to NBC affiliate WFLA. "We love you daddy and we will always have you in our hearts."
Kondek, 45, was killed while responding to a complaint about noise coming from the car of fugitive Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., who police say admitted to shooting the officer and then fleeing the scene because he didn't want to go back to prison. He also ran over Kondek’s body with his car, authorities said. Parilla, 23, who was wanted on a parole violation, was charged Monday with first-degree murder and denied bail.
Kondek’s colleagues remembered him for being helpful and supportive of his fellow officers. "He was good-natured, loved to joke around, a lot of laughter," Tarpon Springs Sgt. Michael Trill said through tears, WFLA reported. While the funeral took place, Officer Kondek’s car was parked outside of the church, tied in a large black ribbon and with his badge number — 285 — displayed prominently on the front.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt