by Peter Gauvin
Under overcast skies threatening rain, Theodore Brassinga, the third Palo Alto police officer in the department's history to die in the line of duty, was laid to rest by his family and hundreds of fellow police officers Thursday.
"The last few days there has been a lot of soul searching. . . There are no suspects, only victims. Many, many victims," said Palo Alto Police Chief Chris Durkin during services at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Redwood City.
Brassinga, a reserve officer, died May 15, accidentally shot in the side of the chest by another officer during what should have been a harmless training drill in in Gilroy in preparation for the World Cup soccer crowds.
A corporate salesman for an East Bay moving company, the 33-year-old Brassinga had devoted many evenings and weekends since January 1993 as a reserve officer in Palo Alto. His greatest desire was to become a full-time officer.
"Ted had a great warmth and spirit and a genuine concern for others and for law enforcement. He had a sense of pride in the Palo Alto reserves," remembered Durkin. "I have a feeling things must be pretty boring in heaven. I can see Ted blasting around in a cloud cruiser looking for that first traffic stop."
Nearly 500 officers from around the state came to the church Thursday to honor their fallen comrade, joining Brassinga's wife, Angela, and the couple's 14-month-old son, Andrew.
Brassinga's sister-in-law, Carolyn McCarthy, remembered the reserve officer's warmth toward everyone. "We gave him the best gift we had, our sister Angela. Little did we know that six and a half years later he would give it back in Andrew. We will be reminded of Ted through his son Andrew."
Following the church service, a motorcade of police cars proceeded via El Camino Real to an interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in Menlo Park, where Brassinga's fellow Palo Alto reserve officers meticulously folded the U.S. flag that draped the casket.
At the time of his death, Brassinga was role playing as the "bad guy" in a training drill staged at the Gilroy Amtrak station in preparation for the tens of thousands of international soccer fans who will arrive by train for the World Cup games at Stanford Stadium in June and July. He was shot by a veteran Mountain View officer whose gun was supposed to be emptied and checked prior to the drill.
The results of an investigation by Gilroy police are now under preliminary review by Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Dave Davies. He is expected to release a report this week.
Davies declined to speculate Monday on what charges might be brought. The Mountain View officer, whose name has not been released, is on administrative leave.
Brassinga, an only child, is also survived by his parents, Rita and Theodorus Brassinga of Santa Maria, and grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Herman Toonen of the Netherlands.
--Andy Juell contributed to this report.
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