While bagpipers played “Amazing Grace,” mourners followed Louis Pompei’s flag-draped casket out of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. Under a gray and threatening sky, the huge glass sanctuary lacked its usual shimmer. Pompei’s funeral service drew 2,000 people, many of them law enforcement officers.
Pompei, 30, a narcotics agent with the Glendora Police Department, was killed June 9, 1995, during a shootout with robbers at a Vons supermarket in his home city of San Dimas. He had interrupted the robbery while off duty and managed to wound two robbers.
Pompei’s mother Dorothy sobbed quietly as her youngest son’s coffin was carried out by fellow officers and placed in the hearse. His older brothers Chester and Tony stood by her side. His fiancee, Tracey Taylor-Careaga, tearfully hugged her friends as police helicopters flew overhead in the missing man formation.
All the while Pompei’s fellow officers watched somberly. Their pain was unmistakable. All 52 Glendora police officers turned out in uniform in his honor, a black band across each badge. Six of them served as pallbearers, accompanied by an honor guard.
Inside the massive church, Glendora Chief Paul Butler stood before the gathering under a 12-story American flag that hung from the ceiling. Two dozen floral arrangements graced the area of the pulpit, together with photographs of Pompei.
Butler’s voice cracked as he remembered a soldier of the community, a vigorous and athletic officer who died defending his town. “He was a dynamo and a radiance of vitality,” Butler said. “He became involved and died a hero.”
Pompei’s fiancee recalled how he had helped her and her family deal with her brother’s death from cancer the preceding July. “Louis was special,” she said. “He had a rapport with everyone. Even people he arrested sent him letters, thanking him for straightening out their lives. The kids from this neighborhood came over all day today, crying.”
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Pompei graduated from Mahanoy City High School in 1982. He went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice administration from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in 1986. He was hired as a police officer trainee by the Glendora Police Department in 1987 and attended the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Academy, graduating on March 4, 1988. He was appointed to the rank of agent in 1995.
Pompei was a physical fitness buff, working hard to keep in shape. He competed in the Police Olympics in bodybuilding, finishing second in the men’s open competition. He was part of the Glendora-Monrovia-Arcadia Police Baker to Vegas running team.
About 100 police officers from California, Pennsylvania, New York and Washington, D.C., joined more than 150 other mourners at a Mass for Pompei in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.
“You need to know that you sent us a hero Glendora police Lieutenant Timothy Crowther said as he choke back tears at Sacred Heart Church. “You should be very proud of him.”
Pompei leaves behind his mother, Dorothy M. Pompei of Mahanoy City Pennsylvania; three brothers; two sisters; and his fiancee, Tracey Taylor-Careaga of San Dimas.
The Glendora Police Officers Association established a scholarship fund in memory Louis Pompei. Contributions can be sent to P.O. Box 1104, Glendora, CA 91741.
the following was submitted by a friend;
No more wars to fight
White flags fly tonight
You are out of danger now
Battlefield is still
Wild poppies on the hill
Peace can only come when you surrender
Hear the tracers fly
Lighting up the sky
But I’ll fight on to the end
Let them send their armies
I will never bend
I won’t see you now ’til I surrender
I’ll see you again when I surrender