CARMEL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A giant American flag hung over Route 52 suspended by two fire truck ladders as thousands of police officers formed a solid blue line Thursday, a somber salute to fallen Poughkeepsie Police Detective John Falcone who was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Poughkeepsie Police Detective John Falcone was eulogized as a hero, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports

“Every day a routine call could be tragic, could end your life, so the least I could do is be here for him,” said Detective Sergeant Mark Rathbun of the Syracuse Police Department.

Poughkeepsie Police Officer John Falcone's funeral (Photo/Al Jones)

Thursday’s funeral mass was held at St. James the Apostle Church on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel, Falcone’s hometown, and led by Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

“We’re here to pray for God’s mercy so that this brave man may enjoy a reunion with the Lord,” said Archbishop Dolan.

One mourner watched Archbishop Dolan consoling the fallen officer’s parents without saying a word.

“He makes eye contact with Mr. and Mrs. Falcone from the altar,” Dutchess County Executive William Steinhaus told CBS 2’s Lou Young. “He takes his crucifix, kisses it, and he looks right over to them and winks and nods, and that’s the kind of celebration of the faith and spirit that was felt today.”

The 18-year veteran officer was remembered as a hero for stepping up to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Falcone was gunned down Friday during a shootout with 27-year-old Lee Welch, a Catskill native who, police said, had just shot his own wife, 28-year-old Jessica Welch, in front of the couple’s 3-year-old daughter.

The girl escaped unharmed. Fellow officers praised their brother in blue for his heroic actions.

What do you make of Falcone’s actions? Leave a comment below

“A very good man, very good man, one of the top officers in the police department,” said Lt. Thomas Jones of the New York State Police.

MTA Police Officer Paul Carufe worked with Falcone at the train station where it all happened.

“Great guy, quiet. No cop deserves this, and if you know John, you know how humble John is,” Officer Carufe said.

“It hits you in the heart,” fellow Poughkeepsie Officer Tom Keith said. “I really can’t say any more than that – it hits you in the heart.”

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi in Poughkeepsie as city remembers fallen hero

Friends both on and off the force remembered Falcone as a cop’s cop, a quiet man who lived to serve and died doing what he loved best.

“That’s exactly where he wanted to be. It’s a special moment in my heart that one of my several friends went into law enforcement and gave his life for it. So I’m proud of him. I really am,” said friend Mike Ansbro.

“I’ve known John since I was 14 – he’ll always be a hero to me,” friend Delores Spero told Young. “He’s touched so very many people.”

Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik declared Thursday a “Day of Remembrance” in honor of Falcone.

Falcone’s burial was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the week, hundreds paid their respects at Falcone’s wake. He was posthumously promoted to detective Tuesday. His shield number — 22 — has been retired and Falcone has been awarded the department’s first medal of honor.

Comments (10)
  1. Officer Joe Bolton says:

    Let’s not forget about poor Lee Welch.

    I’ve been collecting dog feces all week and will be constructing a memorial tomorrow.

  2. Doug says:

    That patch you showed at the beginning of the video…that was from the Town of Poughkeepsie Police, not the City of Poughkeepsie Police. Two different, neighboring agencies. John worked for the City, not the Town.

    1. glenn says:

      doug are you from poughkeepsie or a city poughkeepsie police just wonder

  3. Kathleen says:

    Officer John Falcone… my you rest in peace in heaven with our Lord! I pray for you and all your family at this very difficult time.. You were a beautiful human being inside and out. Thank You for your bravery, kindness, caring, and outstanding police officer that you were..You will never be forgotten!!

  4. capt bill's daughter says:

    thank you detective falcone, you didn’t hold back in the mission of serving & protecting, especially a 3 year old girl. rest in peace, last roll call answered. the long blue line and those they serve mourn your loss.

  5. Steve says:

    Officer Falcone was a compassionate and professional police officer who sacrificed himself for a child and the safety of our city. The citizens of Poughkeepsie have lost a son. Rest in Peace Detective Falcone and thank you for your sacrific and duty.

  6. alicia says:

    Hey, stop me if I’m wrong but something tells me you’re a bit of a pessimist…no?

    And I could have told you his name was Patrick Tillman before even looking at anyone else’s comment. Shame on YOU.

  7. JFK says:

    Try praying for the man’s family instead. And Tillman also.

  8. George Scott says:

    Unfortunately Officer Falcone will soon be forgotten – like others who have died in the line of duty. What was the name of that football star who chose the military over a professional football contract and was killed BY FRIENDLY FIRE in the mid-east war ?? See what I mean? I bet you can’t remember his name .. SHAME ON YOU !!

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