Posted at: 12/20/2013 1:16 PM
Updated at: 12/20/2013 8:08 PM
By: Dan Levy
LATHAM - Friends, family, and colleagues of New York State Trooper David Cunniff paid their final respects to the fallen hero on Friday.
The state trooper from Duanesburg was killed earlier this week when a tractor trailer slammed into his parked police cruiser during a thruway traffic stop.
A family spokesman says the Cunniff's were blown away and overwhelmed by the love, support, and compassion they've experienced this week.
In fact, many people might be blown away and surprised by the compassion shown by Trooper Cunniff's widow, Amy, in the face of her overwhelming tragedy.
They came from all over the United States, and from Canada, to pay their final respects to a man most of them never knew. Men and women from law enforcement, traveled for hours, arrived in full dress uniform to join in sorrowful solidarity.
“It's the least we can do to come and honor the family here for their sacrifice that they had here in New York,” said Corporal Zachary Nine of West Virginia State Police.
David Cunniff was a nine-year veteran of the New York State Police. Described as a consistent, dedicated, every day hard working trooper.
“He was a very quiet confident trooper that went out and did an outstanding job and he was well respected by all of the members of the station that he working in,” said Evelyn Mallard, Troop T Commander of the New York State Police.
After his flag draped coffin was carried from the Grace Fellowship Church, the folded flag was ceremoniously presented to his wife. Similar flags were presented to his two young sons, both wearing state police stetson hats.
“It's a dangerous job to be a police officer and I think that the death of Trooper David Cunniff underscores the risks that are out there,” said Joseph D'Amico, NYS Police Superintendent.
In her Grieving, Amy Cunniff also displayed what many describe as overwhelming compassion by forgiving the man who caused so much pain for so many people.
“As far as the family is concerned, this was an accident. They want the truck driver and they want the other victim at the accident to understand that this was an accident as far as they see. The only thing they want for everyone involved is for them to move forward with the family in healing together,” says Pastor Tim Owens of Grace Fellowship Church in Latham, where the funeral was held.
Cunniff was the fourth state trooper killed in the line of duty this year. That makes 2013 the second deadliest year for state troopers since State Police was founded, 93 years ago.
The 65-year-old man from Canada who was driving the tractor trailer has been told to stay in the Capital Region, as charges against him are pending.