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A Veteran found dead in Pembroke Pines home laid to rest

Erick Johnson | 5/22/2014, 9 a.m.
Lucille Patrick receives the flag that covered the casket of her son, Carl, as the 25-year veteran Miami police officer was laid to rest on Saturday. Rene Pimentel/City of Miami Police Department

Dozens of police officers from all over Miami-Dade County joined hundreds of family, colleagues and friends in a mile-long funeral procession in tribute to Carl Patrick, a 25-year veteran city of Miami Police officer who died May 9 from a tragic shooting. Filled with tradition and pageantry, it was a stunning spectacle to many residents in Miami Gardens and Opa-locka.

The decorated officer’s life was celebrated during a grand sendoff that included full line of duty honors in an emotional homegoing service on Saturday at Trinity Church in Miami Gardens, the same church where the veteran’s father funeral was held nearly 15 years ago.

As a bagpipe musician greeted mourners with spiritual hymns, a long line of officers from various cities, including Miami, Miami Gardens and Opa-locka, stood at attention and saluted as Patrick’s flag-draped casket was escorted into the church. Family and friends followed closely behind.

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City of Miami Honor Guards escorted the Patrick’s casket into the Trinity Church in Miami Gardens during a large funeral Saturday. Photo by Rene Pimentel, City of Miami Police Department

Inside, about 400 mourners packed the church to hear musical tributes and heartfelt speeches from the county’s finest, who included City of Miami Police Chief Manual Orosa. The service was officiated by the church’s pastor Rich Wilkerson, who also gave the eulogy. Florida Gov. Rick Scott was also there.

Patrick’s mother, Lucille, remained strong throughout the service and inspired many by singing a favorite Christian song, “To God be the Glory” without wavering.

The ceremony brought tears and appreciation from family members who remembered Patrick as quiet individual who excelled at being the best police officer by taking classes to improve his law enforcement skills.

“He was a fine young man. He was raised very well with Christian morals. It was a beautiful service,” said Jennifer Edwards, Patrick’s aunt who helped raise him.

“Ronaldo was a sweetheart kid you can’t find anywhere,” said Patrick’s other aunt, Diana Dell, who referred to her nephew by middle name. “He was so well-behaved.”

Patrick’s younger brother, Michael, remembered his sibling as a loving family member.

“He cared for my mother,” said Michael, who moved to Miami after living in New York for 24 years. “We would both take turns in helping out around the house. We were a tag team.”

Born in Liberty City, Patrick, 52 was a graduate of Miami Central Senior High School. His father was a truck driver who served in the Navy. Patrick joined the Miami Police Department in 1989 after serving in both the United States Army and Air Force. At the police department, Patrick served on the force’s Crisis Intervention Team where he was trained to help the mentally ill. In addition, he served on the department’s Honor Guard Unit, where he particiapted in various community events, parades and funerals.

On May 9, one day before Mother’s Day, Patrick’s body was discovered by Pembroke Pines Police who checked up on the Miami officer after he failed to show up at work. Patrick was found dead in his bedroom in his Pembroke Pines home whom he shared with his girlfriend, Tiniko Thompson, a Miami Police public service aide. Through her attorney, Thompson claimed Patrick shot himself during an argument. His body was reportedly left inside the home for two days after the shooting. Police are still investigating the case.

Surveillance video that emerged on WSVN Channel 7 Friday showed Thompson unloading items from a car into a storage unit on the day of the shooting. According to the facility’s manager, police obtained a warrant and searched her storage unit.

To many, Patrick’s funeral was an impressive tribute that closely resembled that of a U.S. president. Traffic was blocked off near 136th Street as Patrick’s long funeral procession passed by dozens of onlookers who stopped to gazed at the flyovers by police helicopters.

“It was wonderful,” said Jennifer Edwards a family friend who attended the funeral. “He was well deserving of the applause from his commitment to his job. That says a lot about him.”

At Dade Memorial Park, where Patrick was buried, the Honor Guard presented Patrick’s family with the American flag and his uniform as a tribute for his commitment. The burial also included a 21-gun salute.

Patrick would have turned 53 on his birthday May 27. His life will continue to be remembered this Memorial Day weekend.