Hundreds of law enforcement members and residents of the Commonwealth lined a procession route Saturday in what was a solemn and heartbreaking show of support for fallen Massachusetts State Police trooper Tamar Bucci.
Officers, firefighters and paramedics from across the state lined the streets outside the medical examiner's office where the procession began as the body of the 34-year-old trooper was escorted from Boston to the Barile Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Service in Stoneham around 3 p.m. Saturday.
Several nurses and employees at Boston Medical Center also came out to show their support for the young trooper killed in the line of duty.
As the line of emergency vehicles lit the way for the escort for their fallen sister in blue, neighbors also gathered to pay their respects.
"I think it’s very touching to see everybody unite as one. For as sad day as it it, I’m glad I am here to also pay my respects to her," said Margarita Figueroa.
"I was very sad, just like a lot of us, I’m a first responder in the towing and recovery industry and I'm out here on the highways just like she was, one man said.
There was a large display of support all along the procession route from Boston to Stoneham, which was a roughly 15-minute drive. People were seen parked on the side of the highway, taking pictures as the hearse drove by; fire trucks were parked on overpasses with firefighters saluting; and there were community members holding and waving flags.
There were also at least three gigantic U.S. flags hung along the route, including one near the medical examiner's office in Boston, one on a highway overpass, and another closer to the funeral home, draped from the ladders of fire trucks.
Massachusetts State Police posted a picture on Twitter of the procession reaching Route 28 in Stoneham, writing, "God's blessings, Trooper. You laid done your life in an act of service to another. No greater love can one show than that."
Grief-stricken family members were among a crowd of people standing outside of the funeral home in Stoneham that could be seen sobbing as the hearse carrying Bucci's body turned the corner and came into view.
Colonel Christopher Mason, the Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, was also outside the funeral home Saturday and thanked everyone for the immense outpouring of support, including all of the people who were along the route and to the entire law enforcement community.
"I can't overstate how important it is for the state police family. It's really given us a lot of support, a lot of strength through a couple very tough days, so I'm very grateful for that," Mason said. "And I'd like to just personally extend, it's helped, it's helped us greatly."
The president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts thanked the public and countless public safety agencies that paid their respects on Saturday as Bucci's body was taken to the Stoneham funeral home.
"During this trying time, the support from all of you has helped as we process this tragedy," Patrick McNamara wrote on Twitter.
Trooper dies in line of duty
While it was understandably an impressive showing from the law enforcement community, Mason said he wanted to specifically note that it was also an impressive showing from the citizenry of the Commonwealth.
"A lot of very good people out, supporting law enforcement, and I want them to know that we notice that and it impacts us, and we feel it in our heart, and we're very grateful," Mason said of the procession turnout Saturday.
Bucci is the 22nd member of the Massachusetts State Police to die in the line of duty, and Mason acknowledged that Bucci's death has really affected the force.
"Each one is a difficult loss," Mason said. "This one is again a particularly striking to have somebody struck down just starting out a brand new career, very young, a very vibrant person, someone that was so full of life to be taken so soon, it really hurts."
Bucci is survived by her parents, two sisters, stepbrother and stepsister -- though Mason added that Bucci is also survived by another family, the 2,000 plus men and women of the force.
Mason said he spent time with Bucci's family at their home Saturday morning, adding he heard a lot of great stories about the fallen trooper.
"It really just reinforces how vibrant a person that she was, how full of love she was, and the thing that I was really struck with was just how proud she was to be a trooper, how that was one of her aspirations, and to become a trooper was really a dream come true for her," Mason shared. "She was a person that really wanted the job for the right reasons, she wanted to be change agent, and she really wanted to help propel this agency into the future, so it's again a very big loss for us."
Bucci, a 2006 graduate of Andover High School, had been wearing the badge for almost two years. Anyone who knows her will tell you this was her dream job, and this loss has left many, especially in law enforcement, absolutely heartbroken.
"On a stretch of road she protected every night on the midnight shift, Trooper Bucci gave her life in the act of trying to help another person in distress," Mason said. "There’s no greater act of sacrifice than to give one’s life for another."
One woman who was outside the funeral home on Saturday told NBC10 Boston she drove by the crash scene after it had happened late Thursday night and says she cannot get the image out of her mind.
"I saw sudden brake lights go on and just like a sea of red I realized that there was an accident so I started praying," said the woman named Donna.
Donna, who was a trauma nurse for many years, says she feared the outcome after what she saw.
"I felt helpless out there because I couldn’t do anything to help her. She was already out of the vehicle when I drove by," Donna said, adding that she showed up outside the Stoneham funeral home on Saturday in support of Bucci's family.
There was also another procession for Bucci on Friday night as her body was taken from Massachusetts General Hospital to the medical examiner's office.
No charges have been filed in connection to the crash at this time. An investigation is ongoing.