Family, friends, officers remember slain police chief

Elmendorf Police Chief Michael Pimentel fatally shot on Aug. 23

SAN ANTONIO – Family, friends and fellow officers gathered at Cornerstone Church on Stone Oak Parkway on Tuesday morning to memorialize Elmendorf Police Chief Michael Pimentel, who was killed in the line of duty.

Pimentel was shot and killed during a traffic stop just before noon on Aug. 23. Police said Joshua Manuel Lopez, 24, shot Pimentel multiple times. Lopez has been charged with capital murder of a police officer.

A viewing was held Monday for Pimentel at Porter Loring Funeral Home in downtown San Antonio.

And on Tuesday, hundreds of law enforcement officers from across Texas came to San Antonio for the funeral procession. There were miles of cars with flashing lights on Highway 281 as the procession made it up the 15-mile route from Porter Loring in downtown to Cornerstone Church.

"This is a way we can pay our respect to the chief to escort him to his final resting place," said Bexar County Deputy Dennis O'Steen.

Funeral services at Cornerstone Church commenced just before noon Tuesday, and included songs, a video tribute and letters from his sisters and brothers read by Pimentel's nephews.

"He was a man of God and I would always stand to be with him," said Benjamin Pimentel, a nephew, on behalf of his father. "Now, Michael is an officer of God and we will truly miss him."

Pimentel's pastor, Devin Lowe, also paid tribute to the slain chief.

"When I think of Michael, I think of a man who was young at heart, who loved to dream and who loved to give," he said. "He was a man who desired to live a full and rich life. Michael enjoyed everything in his life: his Harleys, his guitars, hobbies, friends and family. He loved people and I can see the impact he had in the lives of his family and friends. He was all about people. He honored leaders and people who were mentors in his life. He loved people and he never criticized (them.)"

Life and legacy

According to his obituary, Pimentel was born on May 15, 1950 and graduated from Holy Cross High School in San Antonio. He attended Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, served in the United States Army and went to Vietnam. Pimentel then served as a police officer for several area cities ending in Elmendorf, when he joined the force last May.

He has been honored in many ways since his death, including with the United States Honor Flag that flew over Ground Zero in New York City in September 2001. His family has echoed publicly in the past week that saying goodbye will be close to impossible.

"We find comfort in knowing that my father was a man of God and we are assured that he's with his heavenly father," said Pimentel's daughter, Melinda Lanford, last week. "My father's saying was to 'serve to honor and honor to serve,' and he did that very well. We want people to know my dad loved Jesus, his family and being a police officer."

Pimentel's family says even though someone has taken their loved one's life, no one can ever remove the legacy of integrity and honor he leaves behind.

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