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Final farewell for fallen Phoenix Police Officer

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PEORIA, Ariz. -

After being killed in the line of duty, 29-year-old Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz was laid to rest Saturday.

The six-year veteran of the force was processing a suspected drunk driver on May 19 when the driver of another vehicle struck Officer Raetz and took off.

Officer Raetz died hours later at a local hospital.

His casket was draped in an American flag and carried into Christ's Church of the Valley early Saturday morning.

Fellow officers stood in salute and his wife and daughter walked behind the man everyone calls a hero.

"I don't know a better person for the job. He truly is the most honorable person that I know," said detective Jeff Clement, Raetz's best friend.

A police officer for six years, Daryl Raetz also served in the navy and completed two tours in Iraq.

He was a beloved family man and brother.

"Daryl knew the only new shoes I would get were his hand-me-downs so he would keep them so clean that when I got them they felt knew. All his toys and clothes he took exceptional care of so I could have something nice, that's Daryl, the man that taught me just about everything I know," said Derek Raetz, Daryl's brother.

"When you love someone, there is never enough time and becoming separated from those we love seems unfair. We love you, Daryl, we know God will take care of you," said William Raetz, Daryl's father.

Those he left behind are turning to their memories, Officer Raetz's extended law enforcement family and the community for strength.

"We understand what the dangers are of this calling when we become police officers. It's just part of something we do. We have to continue forward for Daryl, the Raetz family, our fellow officers and citizens of Phoenix," said Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.

The show of support started just outside the church on 67th Avenue, where hundreds of valley residents lined up on the street to see the procession line pass, a final farewell to Officer Raetz.

"They do a lot for us, they protect us, and being family members of other Phoenix police department officers, we appreciate what they do for us," said Layne Vanbronckhorste.

The banners and flags that were held in his honor were a touching tribute along the route to the cemetery; Officer Raetz's final resting place.

At the end of the ceremony, officers made a final call for a young life taken too soon.

Phoenix police say they are working extensively to give the county attorney enough evidence to prosecute whomever was responsible for the hit-and-run that took Officer Raetz's life.

Jesus Cabrera Molina has not yet been charged in the death of officer Daryl Raetz, but he is in custody on separate drug charges, according to police.  

Molina was arrested around 1:15 p.m. Sunday during a traffic stop near Thompson Ranch Road and Grand Avenue in Surprise.

Records indicate the 24-year-old was pulled over by an officer who recognized that Molina's SUV matched the description of a vehicle involved in the accident.

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