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Thousands honor slain Euless officer David Hofer at New York Funeral Mass

March 8, 2016

By Tom Steele

Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)
A police escort leads the funeral procession for Euless police Officer David Hofer after the service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Monday. 

NEW YORK — Hundreds of police officers lined Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for a farewell salute to a former colleague who was gunned down in Texas.

Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse  
The ashes of Euless police Officer David Hofer are carried into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by Hofer’s fiancée, Marta Danylyk.  

Euless police Officer David Hofer was celebrated Monday at a memorial Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Several thousand mourners — including NYPD officers in dress uniform as well as officers from several North Texas cities — prayed before his cremated remains.

A Euless police officer had carried the cherry wood box with Hofer’s ashes bearing his name to the altar, near some daisies and a sign that read, “Blue Lives Matter.”

His fiancée, Marta Danylyk, wept quietly, sitting close to his parents, Sonja and Helmut Hofer.

“He went to Texas to make a good life, but once you put a shield on your chest, you’re always in danger,” Pat Lynch, head of New York’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said after the service.

The 29-year-old Brooklyn native was killed Tuesday while responding to reports of shots fired at J.A. Carr Park in Euless. Jorge Brian Gonzalez, 22, was lying in wait for police and fatally shot Hofer. Other officers returned fire, killing Gonzalez, who was suspected of being high on methamphetamine.

Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press)
Firefighters from the Euless Fire Department attended Monday’s funeral Mass.

On a sunny Monday morning, the lone bagpiped sound of “Amazing Grace” rang over Fifth Avenue as Hofer’s remains were carried out of the cathedral, the seat of New York’s Roman Catholic archdiocese.

Monsignor Robert Ritchie, who presided over the Mass, summed up Hofer’s life in three words from the pulpit: “Respect, honor, love.”

On Saturday, mourners filled Bedford’s Pennington Field to remember a man Euless Police Chaplain Jim Pack described as “a hero larger than life.”

“David had a smile that could light up the moon,” said Euless Police Chief Mike Brown. “His smile will be missed, and his sense of humor will be hard to replace.”

Hofer spent five years working in New York’s Ninth Precinct in the East Village. He moved to Texas two years ago and recently bought a house in Plano with Danylyk.

Shortly after joining the Euluess force, Hofer had taken Danylyk on a ride-along — having secretly arranged for friends and family to hide in a nearby van so they could be there as he proposed to her in uniform.

At Saturday’s memorial, Danylyk addressed Hofer directly: “How truly blessed I am to have gotten to know your beautiful soul. It is an absolute honor and privilege to be the one you chose to love.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Danylyk pay her bills, including the couple’s mortgage.