Thousands attend funeral for IMPD Officer Perry Renn
Thousands of mourners filed into Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday to pay final respects to slain Indianapolis Metro Police Officer Perry Renn.
Renn died in a shootout last Saturday night. He was remembered as a selfless, courageous man who dedicated - and sacrificed - his life protecting others.
"Greatness is not what you have. Greatness is what you give. Perry Renn gave much," said Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Rick Hite.
Friday was a day of ceremony. Officer Renn's body arrived at Banker's Life Fieldhouse this morning around 7:00 am in a procession from Crown Hill Funeral Home. A lineup of officers saluted Renn's body and escorted the casket into the building. Officer Renn's family arrived at 10:00 am.
About 2,300 people attended the funeral, which got underway at 11:45 am with a full honor guard by Officer Renn's casket.
Hoosiers came out both to the funeral and to a memorial at Ofc. Renn's squad car to show their respect to a man who died doing a job he loved for more than two decades -- serving and protecting the people of Indianapolis.
"I wanted to pay my respects for this young man for patrolling this area and keeping us safe," said Mary, a resident who stopped by the memorial.
Dozens of police officers stood in line to pay their respect, and even retired police officers like Lt. Michael Luckett. He talked about why Renn chose to serve in one of the most dangerous areas of Indianapolis.
"I think that he really did care about the people that he worked with and there's a lot of good people in the area that are just trying to make the best of their lives," Luckett said. "I think it was important to him to do what he could to make sure that they are safe and had a chance."
A line of high-profile Hoosiers also stood up to honor Ofc. Renn's life and sacrifice.
"Heroes give us hope and Ofc. Perry Renn was a hero," said Gov. Mike Pence. "It has been a week of heartbreak all across our state....Indiana will never, ever forget Ofc. Perry Renn."
"Everything Perry did was about serving our country," added Sen. Joe Donnelly. "He was there every day for the people of his city."
Mayor Greg Ballard said, "For most people, it's difficult to understand the nature of a profession where imminent danger is common....We are a better community because Perry Renn chose to wear that uniform."
"He confronted evil and protected fellow officers and the citizens of the neighborhood," said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs "His actions certainly saved lives at the expense of his own....He believed your life and your safety was more important than his own."
Renn's courage was, perhaps, inherited. After his death, his mother wrote her son a letter that was read at the funeral service by a family friend.
"Perry, I am so proud of you. I will always love you."
He even continued working the streets of the North District even though his seniority within the department would have allowed him to either move or take on a less dangerous role.
"He chose to work in patrol to make a difference in the field," added IMPD Chief Rick Hite. "Ever day, Perry got out of his police car."
"I was totally shocked," Cindy White told Eyewitness News. White is a nurse now, but she was a police officer with IMPD for decades, serving at times alongside Ofc. Renn. "I just couldn't believe it. I said, 'Well, did he have on his vest?' He did have on his vest. But I was just shocked, I could not even talk to anyone."
Honor guard members have stood guard at the officer's side since he was brought to the funeral home earlier this week. They will stay with him until he is buried later today.
Thursday evening, Eyewitness News spoke with Renn's father, David Renn, who said his son loved being a police officer. David Renn said that instead of being sad, he wants everyone to be proud of his son.
"I think being proud is the best thing," David Renn said. "And I hope everybody supports the Indianapolis Police Department because they have wonderful people on there, they really do."
Visitation was held for Renn Thursday at Crown Hill Funeral Home. Officer Renn's body will be cremated. The Crown Hill Cemetery service is ceremonial.