END OF WATCH-- Family, friends, law enforcement officers from around Kentucky paid final respects on Wednesday, to fallen Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) Officer Zachary Cottongim. Cottongim was laid to rest days after his death on Saturday, Dec. 20.
Chapter 1: Farewell Officer Cottongim
Around 900 people attended the funeral held at the Southeast Christian Church Blankenbaker Campus in Louisville.
Officers from across the Commonwealth and neighboring states came to pay their respects.
Greg Allen led scripture and prayers, followed by speakers including Chief Erika Shields, Dave Burns and Bobby Lewis, some of Cottongim's fellow officers.
Burns said Cottongim was a humble person who "doesn't brag about what he does."
"If you want to remember him, then let's imitate him," he said. "Be like Zach."
Cottongim is survived by his wife and two children, who say he was honorable, courageous and selfless.
Chapter 2: Final Resting Place
Cottongim was then taken to Cave Hill Cemetery followed by the procession where he was laid to rest. About 290 cars were parked inside Cave Hill Cemetery.
A group of supporters also gathered outside the cemetery gates.
Deborah Starks came from Indiana to pay her respects.
"They need to be supported and it means a lot to me. I would do it for any police officer that died in the line of duty," she said. "Let's all just pray."
After the procession entered Cave Hill, Officer Cottongim's casket was transferred to a horse-drawn cart, which brought it to the gravesite.
Following tradition, an honor guard lifted the flag from the casket and folded it.
There was also a three volley salute in honor of Cottongim, followed by the playing of taps.
One of the most somber moments was the last call for Officer Zachary Cottongim, played out over LMPD radios.
"Amazing Grace" closed out the burial service.
There was not a dry eye at either the funeral or the burial, the community coming together to remember a local hero who was taken too soon.
Chapter 3: Community Mourns, Shows Support
Not everyone could make attend the funeral but made sure to show their support during the procession.
Well-wishers lined the I-64 overpass by Seneca Park to honor fallen LMPD officer Zachary Cottongim, and to also to support his brothers and sisters in blue.
“Let them know that we have their backs,” Manuela Mattingly, of Support 502 Blue, said.
The overpass is not far from where Cottongim was killed Saturday and is on the same interstate, headed in the same direction, that LMPD Detective Deidre Mengedoht died on Christmas Eve 2018.
Both were struck and killed responding to cars off to the side of the major roadway.
“It’s mind-boggling,” spectator Robert Gaddie said. “I don’t understand it.”
Cruiser after cruiser, police from Louisville and from throughout the Commonwealth formed the massive motorcade.
“I told the lady standing next to me, I said 'all those lights coming towards us, that’s such a beautiful sight,'” Theresa Hagerman recalled. “I’m just so sad for the reason for it.”
Chapter 4: FINAL CALL
Listen to one of the most somber moments during the graveside ceremony for Officer Zachary Cottongim. The final call was played out over LMPD radios at the cemetery and anyone with police scanners could also hear it.