BLOOMINGDALE, Ill. (WLS) --Flags were lowered to half-staff across the Chicago area Tuesday to honor a police officer who was killed in a crash in northwest suburban Bloomingdale.
Officer Raymond Murrell, 27, was killed last Thursday night, when his SUV skidded on some water and crashed into a traffic light pole at Army Trail Road and Cardinal Avenue. He was responding to a theft in progress.
The rookie officer was remembered as a "shining star" who had a bright future ahead of him.
"He made such an impact in less than a year in our police department, involved in many of our community programs, 'Shop with a Cop.' He had a life-saving award at such a young stage in his career," Bloomingdale Police Chief Frank Giammarese said.
"His sole purpose was just to help people, protect people. From day one, he wanted to be a policeman," said Anthony Murrell, Raymond's father.
Bunting was put up Friday at the Bloomingdale Police Department to honor him.
Murrell's wake was held from 3-9 p.m. Tuesday and was open to the public.
Police escorted Murrell's casket from Salerno's Rosedale Chapels in Roselle to Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago. Crowds of supporters and uniformed firefighters lined the route to salute the young officer. An American flag hung from a fire engine in honor of his service.
"Hundreds of officers and great to see. Very, uh, a lot of unity," said Juan Zamora, friend.
"It was just breathtaking," said Glendale Heights mayor Linda Jackson.
Zamora said his friend had always dreamed of being a police officer.
"Since he was a little baby, when he first started talking, and always wanted to be a police officer. His uncle was a police officer and that was his life dream," he said.
The police chief said Murrell's death has been particularly hard on the force because they work in such a close knit department.
His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Afterwards, a police motorcade will escort the funeral procession to the Oakridge Cemetery in Hillside for burial.
The funeral procession route will be: eastbound on North Avenue, southbound on Country Farm Road, eastbound Roosevelt Road.
"(He was) just a wonderful - just a great guy. That's the kind of person we wanted for our department. It's just a great loss," Giammarese said.
Giammarese said to his knowledge, Murrell was the first Bloomingdale officer killed in the line of duty.