MODESTO (CBS13) – Waving flags and offering smiles to soften a sad time, dozens lined the streets to say goodbye to fallen Stanislas County Deputy Robert Paris on Friday.
“I never knew him, no, but I’m here out of respect for his and his family and all the years of service he’s given to the city,” said Modesto resident Joyce Balch.
Thousands of law enforcement members and Gov. Jerry Brown gathered at Big Valley Grace Community Church to honor Deputy Paris. Most never even knew him.
“Reno PD is here. We have then all the way to the Lassen County area, as far south as San Diego, L.A.,” Police Officers Association retired member Rex Osborn said.
Someone close to the slain deputy, sheriff and friend Adam Christianson, spoke of Paris’ commitment to his profession.
“Bob wore his badge with pride,” Christianson said. “He loved his job and loved serving the community.”
He recalled the moment he arrived to the deadly scene where a gunman ambushed Deputy Paris and locksmith Glendon Engert during an eviction last week in Modesto.
“I laid my hand on my chest and asked the paramedic to take my friend away, just take him someplace safe that’s all I need you to do,” he said.
Deputy Paris’ brother shared words about the father of two.
“He would want us to celebrate his life, talk about life,” Eric Paris said.
Paris’ daughter Jami Paris remembered her dad for “the way you made pancakes, the way you’d always take me camping or how you always loved to go hunting, the way you’d always do taxidermy, the way you’d always call me your little camper or princess.”
Others recalled Paris was gentle and compassionate, with a great sense of humor.
As final symbol of dedication and commitment, Sheriff Christianson presented Paris’ father with the law enforcement medal of honor.
“Time will heal our pain and we will never ever forget Bob’s sacrifice,” the sheriff said.
The procession ended at a Hughson cemetery where Deputy Paris was laid to rest.
Paris was born in Tracy. He was a paramedic before joining the sheriff’s office in 1996. Most of his 16 years in the department were spent patrolling. He is survived by his parents, a brother and two adult children.
Engert, who had worked as a surveyor at an engineering firm before becoming a locksmith, is survived by his wife. His funeral is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Modesto.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)