INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis police officer who died last weekend in a gunbattle was an everyday hero, friends and officials said Friday at his funeral.
We didn’t really know him as an officer, we knew him as our friend, said Sabrina Young, who lived in the same subdivision as Officer Perry Renn. The 51-year-old former paratrooper died Saturday night after being shot three times by a man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Young was among speakers, including Gov. Mike Pence, who spoke about Renn during a funeral held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the downtown arena that at happier times is home to the Indiana Pacers. Hundreds of police officers and spectators sat quietly in the stands and on the floor, where Renn’s flag-draped casket sat below a gigantic video screen showing photos from family vacations and Renn romping with his beloved dogs.
Outside, more than 1,000 police cars from across Indiana and other states waited to take part in the 11-mile funeral procession.
Police Chief Rick Hite said Renn saved several bystanders when he fired back at the suspect, critically wounding him.
Heroes are not simply defined in moments of crisis, they are also defined in moments of quiet, silent dedication, Pence said, adding that Renn was a caring individual, something you don’t see very often in the world anymore.
Renn also was remembered for helping with mundane chores, such as snow-blowing neighbors’ driveways during winter. Rarely did we have a need for an officer in our neighborhood, but if we did, we knew he would be there, Young said.
The caring neighbor with a dangerous job was the latest casualty in a violent year in Indianapolis, where 72 homicides have happened in just over six months – a pace that could have 2014 rivaling 1998’s record of 162 killings.
Officer Jeff Krider said his former partner was a perfectionist who could have traded the night shift for less dangerous daytime work, but chose not to do so. Even on duty, Krider said, Renn’s kinder side stood out as he stopped to feed stray dogs and cats.