Get BlazeTV
News

Hundreds of Police Officers Attend Little Girl's Kindergarten Graduation After Father Died in Line of Duty

"...word got out that this was happening and it went viral within the department ..."

Tatum Raetz graduated from kindergarten at a Phoenix elementary school Wednesday and while many of her classmates had parents there to congratulate her. Tatum only had her mother, Stephanie. Her father, Officer Daryl Raetz, was killed in the line of duty over the weekend.

But in lieu of her father, hundreds of Phoenix Police Department officers showed up to be in attendance for her graduation in a touching display of support.

(Photo: AZ Family/Tess Rafols/Facebook)

AZ Family reported Officer James Holmes calling the moment for his fallen comrade's daughter "absolutely amazing" but "bittersweet and [...]overwhelming for all of us."

AZ Family described the auditorium as "standing room only with a sea of blue in the back and along the side of the room."

"We tried to keep this small. We tried to keep this to Daryl's squad and his precinct," Holmes told AZ Family. "But the word got out that this was happening and it went viral within the department and there was absolutely no way that you could keep officers who could be here away from here. They came, even with their families."

(Photo: AZ Family/Tess Rafols/Facebook)

The 29-year-old officer, who was also a veteran of the war in Iraq, was killed in a hit-and-run while investigating a DUI early Sunday. The vehicle that struck him has been identified by police, but AZ Family reported no arrest has been made in the case yet. Although, the owner of the SUV was arrested on drug charges.

This undated photo provided by the Phoenix Police Department shows Officer Daryl Raetz. Raetz was struck by another vehicle, which was traveling northbound on 51st Avenue Sunday May 19, 2013. Raetz was transported to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries. (Photo: AP/Phoenix Police Department)

Police Chief Daniel Garcia described the loss as "gut-wrenching."

"This is every officer's nightmare," he said. "I honestly don't have the words to describe the sorrow in my heart for Daryl Raetz and his family. He was one of Phoenix's finest, one of our heroes who was out there every day (serving) the community."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

(H/T: Reddit)

One last thing…
Watch TheBlaze live and on demand on any device, anywhere, anytime.
try premium
Exclusive video
All Videos
Watch BlazeTV on your favorite device, anytime, anywhere.
Subscribe Now
Recommended
Daily News Highlights

Get the news that matters most delivered directly to your inbox.