Houston Police Sergeant Steve Perez was laid to rest after thousands attended a funeral service at Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
Photos: Funeral service for HPD Sgt. Perez
Family, friends, HPD Chief Acevedo, Mayor Turner, Governor Greg Abbott and hundreds of police officers attended the service on Wednesday morning.
"Our dad was the greatest protector, defender and rescuer. It feels impossible to describe the man he was," said his son.
Perez, 60, drowned in floodwaters from Harvey while trying to report for duty on Aug. 29.
Perez spent his final hours trying to make roll call and save flooding victims. When he didn't show, police tracked his phone to a dark intersection near the Hardy Tollway and Beltway 8 which was covered in water.
Police Chief Art Acevedo broke down during a news conference over a week ago saying they didn’t send divers in right away, because they knew it was going to be a recovery. He said he couldn’t put more officers at risk.
“Having to make the decision to leave him there that night in that muddy water, you know, that was tough,” the chief said.
Acevedo says he wants Perez, a 34-year veteran on the force to be remembered for his sacrifice.
His body was laid to rest in a private service at the Houston National Cemetery. Perez leaves behind a wife, daughter and son.