Family, colleagues prepare to say goodbye to Officer Thomas Lavalley

Family, colleagues, prepare to say goodbye to Officer Thomas LaValley
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Sunday afternoon, American flags flew under a hot August sun in front of the Ourso Funeral home in Gonzales.  For the people standing inside, their grief was as clear as the red and white strips.  However, the loss felt for Officer Thomas Lavalley, who was gunned down last week while on duty with the Shreveport Police Department, has also given way to something beautiful.

"We asked to line the streets from here to Baton Rouge. I did not anticipate them lining the streets from here to Shreveport. That was incredible and very moving and it meant more to my family than I can ever say," said Lavalley's cousin Jeannie Averett.

Known as T.J. to his cousins, Lavalley comes from a large family in St. Amant.  As people have reached out in the days after his death and paid their respects, his relatives say they were overwhelmed to find that Lavalley had an even bigger family that stretches across Louisiana, bound by badges.

"He was the kind of person that when you met him, you knew he was something special and your life was richer for having known him," said Bill Goodin, Chief Administrative Assistant with the Shreveport Police Department.

The day before Thomas is to be laid to rest, those who loved him gathered to recite the Rosary while officers from Ascension Parish, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and even New York and Chicago stood guard.
"Thomas loved law enforcement. We're going to be out there every single day, serving the citizens of Shreveport and honoring Thomas Lavalley and that's really what it's all about," said Goodin.

While the 29 year old's life and service is being celebrated statewide, his family says Lavalley would have hated the attention.  That doesn't stop them from sharing why he meant so much to so many.

"He is our hero. Whether he's mad at us for saying it or not. He is 100% our hero. He always has been," said Averett.

Officer Lavalley's funeral service is set for 11 a.m. Monday. He will be buried at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church cemetery in St. Amant.

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