Hundreds of mourners paid their respects Tuesday to a Montgomery County police officer after being hit by car driven by a suspected drunken driver.
The funeral for Officer Noah Leotta was held Tuesday morning at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, followed by burial at Judean Memorial Gardens in Olney. Leotta was 24.
Leotta died Thursday, a week after he was hit by an SUV as he conducting a traffic stop as part of a drunken-driving task force.
Leotta's brothers and sisters in arms honored his sacrifice in the funeral procession, at the church and at the cemetery. Every death of an officer hurts, Officer Rose Borisow said.
"We often say we have blue blood running through us, and we feel that in our heart," she said.
At the service, Leotta's loved ones remembered his kindness, his smile and the pride he took in protecting residents of Montgomery County. Fellow officers spoke about the need to strengthen Maryland DUI laws in his memory.
"Noah's Law -- we should change it, and we should make longer periods of time when you kill another motorist, another human," Officer John Romack said.
Officers arriving to Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta funeral pic.twitter.com/ae33TfmiW6— Kristin Wright (@kwrightnbc4) December 15, 2015
The cause of the crash that killed Leotta is under investigation and the driver has not yet been charged. But Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger has said the driver had been arrested twice before for driving under the influence.
"This county is worse because Officer Noah Leotta is not out driving around his patrol car, that he is not out here serving the community," Manger said.
A Montgomery County native, Leotta graduated from Sherwood High School and attended Montgomery College. He interned at the police department for two years before he was hired in January 2013.
"Noah leaves behind a family that is absolutely devastated," Manger said. "He was the son of two just loving, wonderful parents. We have grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, family friends that will never recover from this loss."
He would have marked three years as an officer with the Montgomery County Police Department next month.
Leotta is the 18th Montgomery County officer to die in the line of duty.
Those wishing to send condolences to Officer Leotta's family may:
- Email the family at email@example.com
Send cards or messages to:
The Leotta Family
Montgomery County Police Department – 4th District
2300 Randolph Road
Wheaton, MD 20902
Officer Leotta's family has highlighted the following organizations for those wishing to make donations in his memory:
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (M.A.D.D.)
10440 Shaker Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
1200 29th St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)
P.O. Box 3199
Camdenton, MO 65020