AUSTIN, Texas - Emergency lights cut through a morning fog Friday as a long motorcade made its way across Austin. The processional was for APD Officer Jorge "George" Pastore.
"It was impressive, but also emotional for me," said North Austin resident Robert Pena.
Pena was among those who stood in the cold mist along the roadway.
"I am here to honor him and to continue to honor the other young men and women in uniform here as police officers," said Pena.
The 16-mile trip ended at the Circuit of the Americas amphitheater. A large group of law enforcement officers from across Texas were there.
An honor guard brought in the flagged draped casket, and placed it next to a set of firefighting bunker gear. Pastore was once a firefighter and EMT in Florida.
"So he really served his community in every facet. And for us, that's a huge symbol. It's a huge symbol of his commitment to his community. And it's a huge symbol of his commitment to making the world a better place. And for us, that really hits home," said Austin Firefighter Rachael Lewis.
Large TV screens displayed images of Pastore’s life. FOX 7 Austin was told Pastore decided to become a cop after the Parkland school shooting, and he later graduated from APD's police academy in 2020.
During the funeral service, friends shared stories about dangerous emergency calls and acts of generosity that changed lives.
"He taught me to eliminate the word can't from my vocabulary. He taught me that giving up was never an option. He taught me that no matter how difficult the circumstances, with perseverance and a positive attitude, I can overcome anything. George taught me that my possibilities were endless," said Taylor Lane, who said Pastore was a mentor to her.
Officer Jorge Pastore was a member of APD's SWAT team and was killed Nov. 11 by a gunman who was attacking two women. His dedication and his loyalty were tattooed on his chest. The tattoo read, "protect my brothers, everyone goes home."
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"Pastore was one of a kind, selfless, hardheaded and amazing man. There is nothing we can do to make it easier. But we can honor him by coming together and constantly working together the way that he would want," said Raphael Rodriguez.
Final salutes included a helicopter fly over, as well as the traditional presentation of a riderless horse. Officer Pastore was awarded the medal of valor, and was described as the very definition of a first responder.
He leaves behind a wife and two step-sons.
During the ceremony, Mayor Kirk Watson said Officer Pastore always had Austin's back. He told the officer's wife and family that Austin would now have their backs.