Thousands gather for fallen Worcester officer’s wake Wednesday

WORCESTER, Mass. — Honoring a hero killed in the line of duty, hundreds of officers from across the state lined up to pay their respects at the wake for Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia.

“Not everybody dies a hero, but he was a hero,” said Officer Wendy Laflamme of Hudson Police.

“A line of duty death is very traumatic and it affects all officers in the same way, we all grieve very deeply for the officer’s family,” said David Perry, a retired Sutton Police lieutenant.

Officer Familia drowned last Friday while trying to save a 14-year-old boy in Green Hill Pond. That boy also drowned while two others were rescued from the water.

“You have children and you’re hoping there are guys out there that would be willing to put themselves in harm’s way to save them, and it’s times like these that you’re reminded it doesn’t necessarily end well,” said Townsend Police Chief James Sartell.

It was an emotional day for so many, from officers to family and friends and even strangers.

One woman we spoke with didn’t know the fallen officer, but she brought her two young sons to pay their respects.

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“I just feel it’s important for them to be a part of this, to see that he was a hero,” said Monique Muscara of Worcester.

“I have never seen people’s eyes filled with so much grief,” said Ryan, her 12-year-old son.

A family grieving inside St. John’s Church while Officer Familia’s police cruiser sat outside with a black bunting draped over it. A symbol of mourning for the community as that brotherhood of officers came together for support.

“It’s a bigger family than your own family,” Officer Laflamme said.

“The support we’re able to provide to area agencies across the state and across New England is so incredibly important at this time, it’s obviously been a really hard year for police and law enforcement in general but one thing we’ve done throughout all this is we’ve stuck together and will continue to stick together,” said Wenham Police Chief Kevin DiNapoli.

Officer Familia served the Worcester Police Department for the last five years. His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Worcester Thursday.