FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Family, friends, and fellow law enforcement officers attended a memorial service for Hollywood police Officer Yandy Chirino who was killed in the line of duty.
Monday morning, a procession from Vista Memorial Gardens in Miami Lakes carried Chirino’s casket to the FLA Live Arena (formerly known as the BB&T Center) in Sunrise. Police officers on motorcycles and in patrol cars escorted the hearse and Chirino’s family to the arena.Here Are Some Money-Saving Tips You Can Follow To Avoid That Pain At The Pump
The procession passed under an American flag-draped arch when it arrived at the arena as law enforcement officers and first responders who lined the road saluted.
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Chirino was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital where he died a short time later.
Bagpipes played as his flagged draped casket was brought into the arena.
“Yandy was more than just an officer, he was a true hero. He sacrificed his life protecting our community,” said Hollywood police Chief Chris O’Brien.
Chirino was born in 1993, in Havana, Cuba. His family migrated to Miami and he became a U.S. citizen when he was 10.
A graduate of Florida International University, Chirino joined the police department in 2017 and O’Brien said “he was the perfect addition to our family.”
“For those who are not law enforcement, a career with so many unknowns can be a scary thing. But for Yandy, he served our community selflessly and fearlessly. He gave his life honorably protecting those in our community. It is because of officers like Yandy that I am extremely proud to wear this uniform every day,” said O’Brien.
WATCH: Hollywood Police Chief Chris O’Brien’s Remarks
Chirino’s best friend, Jovany Coronado, described him as the most selfless person he’s ever known.
“I just want you to know we are here today to celebrate a man who is irreplaceable, a man that comes around once in a lifetime. He impacted every single person he came in contact with in a positive manner, to become a better version of themselves. He reassured you it was okay to step out of your comfort zone, that it is okay to go through hard times, just not to dwell on it,” he said.
WATCH: Jovany Coronado’s Remarks At Memorial ServiceREAD MORE: Housing Crisis: County Mayors Hold Roundtable On Skyrocketing Rents
Chirino’s girlfriend, Chelsea Howell, described how she met him and his family.
“I met his family, the most sweetest, caring, generous people I have ever met. Even though I didn’t speak one word of Spanish, they opened up to me with open arms,” she said. “We used to go down to their house every week for what we called “Cuba Tuesday” where we would have dinner with his family and then he would play soccer with his high school friends at night.”
Howell echoed Coronado’s sentiment that Chirino impacted those he met.
“Yandy died a hero doing what he loved, he knew there was a risk putting on the uniform every night,” she said. “Every night before he left for work I would tell him ‘I love you, please be safe’. I know he is looking down on us, smiling, saying ‘wow, this is all for me’. Even though he is physically not here with us, myself, his friends and family, we will forever live out his legacy and we will continue to live like Yandy,” she said.
Watch: Chelsea Howell Speaks At His Memorial Service
Hollywood police Officer Henry Martinez, another close friend of Chirino, said he considered him not only as a zone partner but as a little brother.
“That night as I ran to you on scene I could not believe what I witnessed. I cannot believe that the life of the party was not responding to my cries. I cannot believe for the first time my best friend was not replying with sarcasm or a joke. I knew this time it was different. I had to act fast. I know throughout the entire night, Chirino heard all of us in the hospital and he felt me hold his hand,” he said.
Watch: Henry Martinez Speaks At Memorial Service
Charles Scott, representing the 5000 Role Models of Excellence, announced a special proclamation from the program’s founder, Rep. Frederica Wilson, in honor of Chirino, who was a member of the program growing up.
Following the service, a full honors presentation was held outside the arena. It included a riderless horse, the playing of ‘Taps’ on bugles and ‘Amazing Grace’ on bagpipes, the folding of the American flag and presentation, a Medal of Valor presentation, a fly-over, and an emotional last call.
After the presentation, the procession headed to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood where it paused to honor the medical team who was with him in his final moments.
From there, it traveled to and paused in front of the Hollywood Police Department where Chirino served.MORE NEWS: Deadly Hit & Run Near Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Finally, it headed back to Vista Memorial Gardens for the burial service, which was private.