WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — A Whittier police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty was remembered Thursday as a kind and giving man.
The public was welcome to pay their respects to Officer Keith Wayne Boyer, 53,at Whittier Area Community Church.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Calvary Chapel Downey. A graveside service will begin upon arrival of the funeral procession at Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier.
Boyer was killed on Feb. 20 during a gun battle with Michael Christopher Mejia near Colima Road and Mar Vista Street.
The slain officer was a grandfather, a musician and a school resource officer who had been with the department for 27 years.
CBS2’s Andrea Fujii spoke to Boyer’s friends and family before the public memorial started and many told her they were still having trouble coming to grips with the tragedy.
“We’re having a hard time,” said Nanette Adams, “A very hard time. The six of us came together tonight and we’ll see what happens . But it’s going to be very hard.”
Friend Ruth Scott concurred.
“He was an innocent man with a big heart,” she said, “He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved doing the good things in life. What is wrong with that?”
Fujii reported that long lines looped around the church courtyard — hundreds came to say goodbye to Officer Boyer.
“He was just the sweetest man ever,” said Kathy Brown, “And we’re going to miss him a lot.”
Earlier in the day, friends and family held a private viewing.
“You could feel all the love of everybody in there to stop in, saying prayers over him. It was very touching,” said Jim Young, a distant relative.
Officer Patrick Hazell, a three-year veteran of the department, was shot in the abdomen but survived his injuries.
Mejia, 26, has been charged with capital murder. He is also accused of killing a cousin of his also on Feb. 20. He is expected to be arraigned in Bellflower.
If convicted as charged, Mejia faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Meanwhile, California Pizza Kitchen announced Thursday that participating restaurants were going to hold a three-day fundraiser for Boyer’s family — March 6-8. The chain said 20 percent of the total check on those days would go to the fund. More than 40 locations are participating.