Thousands attend funeral for Florida police officer allegedly killed by teen robbery suspect out on parole


Some 3,000 mourners, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, attended the funeral Monday for a police officer shot and killed in the line of duty allegedly by a teen robbery suspect out from juvenile lock-up. 

Hollywood Police Officer Yandy Chirino, a Cuban immigrant and four-year veteran of the force, was honored at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise after a procession of patrol cars and motorcycles escorted the slain 28-year-old’s hearse from Vista Memorial Gardens in Miami Lakes. He is the first Hollywood officer to be killed in the line of duty since November 2008, WSVN reported. 

The hearse entered the arena beneath an American-flag draped arch as law enforcement and first responders from across the state and beyond stood at attention and saluted, WFOR-TV reported. 

FLORIDA SHOOTING SENDS CROWD OF HALLOWEEN REVELERS RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES

“Yandy was more than an officer,” Hollywood Police Chief Chris O’Brien said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “He was a true hero. He sacrificed his life protecting our community.”

“For those who are not law enforcement, a career with so many unknowns can be a scary thing. But for Yandy, he served our community selflessly and fearlessly,” he said, addressing a crowd that included Chirino’s parents, family and girlfriend. “He gave his life honorably protecting those in our community. It is because of officers like Yandy that I am extremely proud to wear this uniform every day.”

The dignified transfer of the remains of slain Hollywood Police Officer Yandy Chirino takes place at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., on Monday Oct. 18, 2021. Chirino was killed during a late-night altercation with a teenage suspect and died at the hospital. 

The dignified transfer of the remains of slain Hollywood Police Officer Yandy Chirino takes place at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., on Monday Oct. 18, 2021. Chirino was killed during a late-night altercation with a teenage suspect and died at the hospital. 
(Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Besides the governor, other high-profile attendees included Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy. The service was bilingual, as Chirino’s family emigrated from Cuba and he became a U.S. citizen at age 10. He graduated from Florida International University and joined the Hollywood Police Department in 2017. 

“I love you, brother,” Chirino’s best friend and fellow officer Henry Martinez, who was present the night he died on Oct. 17, said at the funeral service. “I know you got our six.”

Chirino responded to a call about suspicious activity after residents reported seeing 18-year-old Jason Banegas riding around their neighborhood on a bicycle allegedly attempting to break into cars. Court documents say Chirino was wrestling Banegas for a gun in the teen’s possession when he was shot in the face. Martinez described pulling Chirino into his squad car and racing him to the hospital. 

“That night, as I ran to you,” Martinez said Monday, according to the Sentinel. “I could not believe that the life of the party was not responding to my cries.”

Banegas, who had been released from juvenile detention some 30 days before the shooting and was out on parole, allegedly told investigators he was trying to shoot himself when the gun went off. He is facing several charges including first degree murder over Chirino’s death. The teen has a lengthy criminal history stretching back to the time he was 12, and his teenager sister was arrested last month for allegedly stealing a firearm – which ended up being the same gun allegedly used to kill Chirino.  

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Chirino’s girlfriend of two-and-a-half years, Chelsea Howell, described how they first met while she was working the night shift as a nurse at Memorial Regional Hospital. 

“I loved you then, I love you now, always did and always will,” she said.

The memorial service Monday included a riderless horse, a rifle volley, the playing of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, a last radio call, a flyover and the folding of an American flag, WSVN reported. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.