Strangers reflect on impact, response to death of SAPD detective

Detective Ben Marconi laid to rest Monday

SAN ANTONIO – Among the thousands who came to pay their final respects to Detective Benjamin Marconi were two women who never knew him.

They stood at the entrance to the Community Bible Church property, and yet, for one of them -- who is part of the San Antonio Police Department’s extended family -- even watching from afar was difficult.

But Della Andretti said, it was also inspiring. She was able to feel the community’s support.

“Having police officers in our family, it’s very important that they see how much respect the city has for them,” Andretti said.

She said her stepdaughter is an SAPD sergeant and her son-in-law is a detective.

But, Andretti said, they’ve yet to speak about Marconi’s death.

“It’s too painful, too fresh. Things will leak out as we go through the days, but right now, it’s a very emotional time,” she said. “I’m respecting their privacy.”

After watching the dignified funeral procession, which included Marconi’s casket and was followed by a long line of vehicles filled with mourners, Linda Menchaca, Andretti’s friend, said, “I’ve never seen this in San Antonio and I’ve lived here all my life. It’s wonderful to see.”

Menchaca said the most touching scene was the sight of the honor guard loading Marconi’s casket onto the horse-drawn caisson that would carry it to the front of the church.

Andretti was touched by seeing Marconi’s police academy classmates fall into line behind the caisson. She said their bond lasts a lifetime, so she can only imagine what their thoughts may have been escorting his casket.

Both women agreed they hope a sense of unity somehow emerges from the senseless loss of someone who was so valuable to the community.

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“We need to have peace in our city. Come together. Help each other and just be there for each other,” Menchaca said.

Andretti said, as her voice began to break with emotion, “I think this whole thing has touched me so much. We just don’t realize what the police officers go through.”