Services held for officer killed in crash

February 26, 2010 4:45:55 PM PST
Family, friends and fellow officers gathered Friday morning for the funeral of a Chicago police sergeant. Alan Haymaker was killed Monday while responding to a burglary call on the city's North Side.

The funeral was held at the Bethel Community Church on the Northwest Side.

"He liked his job. He was a good sergeant. He really worked for his daughters," said Officer Karine Cristobal, Chicago police.

Friday Chicago firefighters joined hundreds of Haymaker's sisters and brethren in blue at small Northwest Side church for the police officer's funeral.

"It's realty to officers that anything can happen to any officer at any time so it's very sad," said Sgt. Michelle Rubino, Chicago Police Department.

Sgt Haymaker's family and friends were joined by local dignitaries for the standing room only service at the police officer's church home. Inside many shared their remembrances of Haymaker's character and conduct including Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis who told those in attendance about the veteran officer's humanity when answering a call about a deceased newborn found in an alley.

"He sought out a blanket and gently wrapped the child up and carried it in his arm singing and praying to the baby as he drove to the Medical Examiner's office," said Supt. Jody Weis.

Those who knew best and loved him most spoke of how the former evangelical minister turned cop had a deep personal faith that he often relied on during his 21 years on the job working the tough streets of Chicago.

"When he became a cop, Al did not see this as a step down from a higher calling. He saw it as a calling from God to serve, it's just an extension of who he was," said Ron Vogelpohl, Haymaker's brother-in-law.

Haymaker was killed early Monday morning after his squad crashed into a tree and light pole on Lakeshore Drive as he responded to a burglary in progress call at a North Side cellphone store. Larry Brown, 28, has been arrested and charged with the crime.

"Such a Christian man, such a man with a belief in God. At the same time he served and protected the people and the City of Chicago," said Mayor Daley.

Alan Haymaker was a 56-year-old married father of three and a third-generation Chicago police officer. He attended the Moody Bible Institute and Trinity Evangelical University and worked part-time jobs as a bus driver and a janitor. Those at the funeral honored him as someone who was truly at home in heaven.

Sergeant Haymaker's family said a final goodbye at a private burial in Niles.

Chicago police department officials including Jody Weis initially worked to have felony murder charged filed against Brown as well, arguing that the commission of the burglary led to Haymaker's death. But the Cook County state's attorney's office said it couldn't make a good case for a murder charge.