Alameda policeman Robert J. Davey Jr., the first officer slain in that city’s history, was buried after a full-dress funeral attended by more than 500 fellow officers.
As an overflow crowd listened inside St. Joseph Basilica Catholic Church and about 200 more heard the words through a loudspeaker outside, a grief-stricken officer eulogized Davey, 35, as a gentle, kind father of four children.
“His wife, Sue, will remember that his final words to her ‘I love you’ when he called to tell her he would be late on that fateful night,” Alameda Police Sergeant Charles Mannix said, his voice breaking occasionally as he praised his friend.
Mannix said that Davey, a 10-year veteran of the 92-member force who worked in its juvenile division, agreed to go along on a drug raid as he got off his usual shift. Davey was shot by a suspect who tried to flee the scene.
“He didn’t have to be there,” Mannix said. “He wanted to be there because he was a cop.” One of Davey’s aims was to help “preserve order in a disordered world.”
Hundreds of officers from more than two dozen agencies – most from the Bay Area, but some from as far away as Sacramento and Monterey – attended the service. In their dress blues, they stood at attention in front of several Victorian homes across the street from the white-walled stucco church.
When the funeral limousine drove up slowly to the church, the officers saluted with white-gloved hands. The service began shortly after Davey’s wife, visibly crumbled with emotion, stepped from the limousine and leaned heavily on the arms of friends who helped her up the steps on the church.
Behind her came her four children – 3-year-old Joseph, 5-year-old Kelli, 8-year-old Robert and 10-year-old Krista – with the smallest ones being carried by other family members.
Davey grew up in Torrance and worked as a Navy mechanic before joining the police. He had been attending Golden Gate University to obtain a bachelor’s degree at the time of his death.
Monsignor Alvin Wagner also spoke, saying Davey’s death was felt with particular intensity within the largely residential community of Alameda. “This is an island community where our friendships are closer and our desire to share sorrow is more heartfelt,” he said.
Alameda officers confirmed later that Davey’s killing had numbed members of the 109-year police force. Former Police Chief Richard Young said an Alameda motorcycle officer died in a crash about 30 years ago, but that there was no record of any other officer being slain while on duty.
As Sergeant George Gardiner stood outside the church listening to the Mass, he said: “We’re just overwhelmed here. I don’t know how many times I’ve been to these funerals, seen them on television, but all of a sudden, when it’s a guy who worked right around the corner . . . ”
The man charged with Davey’s killing was Daniel A. Smith, 21, of Santa Cruz. Police said Smith was on parole from the California Youth Authority after serving seven months for a first-degree burglary.