Hundreds of law enforcement officers and community members filled the pews of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano to show support at the funeral of slain Little Elm Detective Jerry Walker.

“He knew how to reach out to people in their darkest hours, no matter what they had done,” Little Elm Police Chief Rodney Harrison told those gathered. “He understood the compassion side of policing.”

Walker’s law enforcement and military colleagues told stories of not only his time spent serving his country and community but who he was as a friend and father to his four children.

John Freebird, who met Walker in the Army, talked about the time Walker showed up at his doorstep a thousand miles away to help in any way he could when Freebird lost his little brother.

“Be very proud of your father,” Freebird said to Walker’s children. “He was not only a great man but a true American hero.”

Walker, a narcotics detective and an 18-year veteran of the Little Elm Police Department, was among officers responding to a home Jan. 17 at the 1400 block of Turtle Cove Drive, where a man with a gun had been reported.

He was trying to get a view of the barricaded suspect when he was struck and killed by a “hail of gunfire,” Harrison said last week.

Officers found the suspect, Rudy Garcia, dead inside the home hours later. Officials have not said how he died.

Walker was the department’s first officer to be killed in the line of duty.

His badge number, 633, which the police department will retire, was etched, along with his initials, on the thin black line across the badges of Little Elm officers at the funeral.

“Jerry’s spirit will live as long as there is breath in the lungs of law enforcement officers around the county,” Harrison said.