Phoenix Police officer Daryl Raetz was tragically killed in the line of duty just days ago, and, in a show of support, hundreds of his fellow cops attended the Kindergarten graduation of his small daughter, Tatum Raetz.
While Officer Daryl Raetz’s little girl has to live with the loss of her father (killed in a hit-and-run incident) for the rest of her life, Tatum Raetz does have one impressive memory from this terrible year — her dad’s co-workers in a sea of blue, all showing up to honor her on her first big school milestone.
Phoenix Police tweeted about the graduation of Raetz’s daughter, but even with the massive turnout, the department didn’t expect the gesture to be quite so large.
Fellow Officer James Holmes told a local news source:
“[Tatum] had 300, 400 parents up here for her this morning … It was absolutely amazing. It was bittersweet and it was a bit overwhelming for all of us.”
“We tried to keep this small. We tried to keep this to Daryl’s squad and his precinct. 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.”
Sara Garza is both a Phoenix Police member and Raetz family friend, and she said of the outpouring of support for Raetz’s widow and daughter:
“Usually we come together as a police family in sad times, so for something like this to happen on such a happy occasion … this is wonderful. It’s uplifting. … We honor his memory, but we’re there and we celebrate and we’re with his family. That’s the most important thing we can do … We’ll support his family forever, and this is just the first step.”
Dad would be so proud…as are we! twitter.com/SgtMartos/stat…
— Steve Martos (@SgtMartos) May 22, 2013
Officer Raetz’s daughter graduates kindergarten. He couldn’t be here so his PD family made it a point to be. twitter.com/phoenixpolice/…
— Phoenix Police (@phoenixpolice) May 22, 2013
Raetz, 29, died Saturday while on duty.