Funeral held for EBRSO Deputy Brad Garafola

Community members lined the streets for Garafola funeral procession
Route for Deputy Brad Garafola's funeral procession.
Route for Deputy Brad Garafola's funeral procession.

Saturday afternoon, the Baton Rouge community said goodbye to another fallen officer.

Funeral services were held for East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Brad Garafola, one of three officers fatally wounded in an ambush shooting last Sunday morning, July 17. A father of four, Garafola had been on the force since 1992.

Deputy Garafola died a hero and on Saturday, people gathered by the thousands to pay tribute to his life and his bravery.

"He actually had found a place of safety where he could hide from the danger, but he saw one of his fellow officers had been hit and he needed help and he left the place of safety to go and render aide to that fallen officer. Greater love have no man than this than a man who lays down his life for his friend, and that's exactly what Brad did," said Jeff Ginn, pastor at Istrouma Baptist.

People who spoke at his funeral service spoke of not just his service as an officer, but that of all law enforcement officers around the world. 

"Every law enforcement officer is, according to the scripture, God's servant. In the older King James version, it is translated, 'Minister of God.' I as a minister salute every one of you, my fellow ministers, the law enforcement officers of our nation," said Ginn.

The sanctuary at Istrouma Baptist Church was filled with officers from across the country and beyond who travelled to Baton Rouge to pay their respects.

"It is a most noble profession, a profession of which you are often expected to remedy all societal ills and do so flawlessly with sometimes little respect and recognition," said Casey Rayborn Hicks, public information officer for EBRSO.

Governor John Bel Edwards quoted scripture from the book of Joshua: "Be strong and courageous says the Lord. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

The Governor said that very verse defined Deputy Garafola in both life and death.

"Strength and courage, every day all the way to the end, and I hope that will give Tonja and her family comfort," said Edwards.

Deputy Garafola sent a text to his wife last Sunday morning, as he often did, saying simply "Good morning, my love."

His wife, Tonja, was forced to say goodbye to the love of her life, a man who proudly served his community, a man who died a hero.


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