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Thousands pack theater to pay respects to slain deputy
By Shannon O'Boye
Posted August 24 2004, 2:30 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE - Thousands of local, state and federal law officers and other emergency workers packed the Au Rene Theater at the Broward Center of Performing Arts on Tuesday to pay their respects to the slain BSO detective, Todd Fatta.

Twelve members of mounted patrols from around the county lined up at the entrance to the theater's driveway. Honor guards from more than 20 agencies, including departments as far away as Escambia County and Gainesville, stood shoulder to shoulder in the blazing hot sun, forming a wall of uniforms on both sides of the street.

More than 70 Broward Sheriff's Office vehicles lined Southwest Fifth Avenue between Broward Boulevard and Second Street. At the corner of Second Street and Fifth Avenue, two Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue trucks extended their ladders, creating an arch over the street.

The 75-vehicle procession arrived at the theater at 10:15 a.m., lead by more than 30 BSO motorcycle deputies. As the Police Pipe and Drum Band played, eight deputies wheeled the flagged draped casket past Fatta's family and into the theater. Sheriff Ken Jenne wrapped his arm around the shoulder of Fatta's mother, Josephine, as she wept. Inside and outside an estimated 3,500 people had gathered to honor Fatta.

After the memorial, the family was seated in a row of chairs in front of the theater as deputies fired a 21-gun salute and eight helicopters passed overhead.

A bugler played taps and then the pipe and drum band played Amazing Grace as a group of deputies folded Detective Fatta's flag. When Sheriff Jenne presented Todd's mother with the flag, she placed a small photo of her son on the flag and clutched it to her chest.

The service ended shortly after a Sheriff's Office emergency dispatcher put out a call asking for a moment of silence to honor Todd Fatta, "a friend who gave his life in the line of duty." T.M. Ralph Funeral Home in Plantation is handling local arrangements.

A funeral is planned for Detective Fatta in his hometown of West Seneca, N.Y., on Friday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. at St. Williams Roman Catholic Church, 1 Arcade Street. Interment follows at Mount Calvary Cemetery, 800 Pine Ridge Heritage Blvd., Cheektowaga, N.Y.

VIDEO: NBC6 update on Tuesday's memorial service for slain BSO Deputy Todd Fatta
Aug 24, 2004

Copyright © 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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