Hundreds of loved ones, fellow officers mourn Philadelphia patrolman

Viewing for slain Officer Brian Lorenzo with his wife Linda, center and their family watch as the honor guard proceed up Academy Road to the Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia, Thursday, July 12, 2012. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer )
Viewing for slain Officer Brian Lorenzo with his wife Linda, center and their family watch as the honor guard proceed up Academy Road to the Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia, Thursday, July 12, 2012. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer )
Posted: July 13, 2012

The last words Officer Brian Lorenzo said to fellow Highway Patrolman Kyle Mallard are something that will always stick with the fallen officer's comrade.

"He said, ‘Have a safe ride,' and I said, ‘I will,'" Mallard recalled outside the viewing for Lorenzo at Givnish Funeral Home on Academy Road Thursday night.

"That's what I go back to," he said, stopping to shake hands and embrace colleagues leaving the funeral home.

Mallard worked with Lorenzo, a 23-year veteran of the force, on Saturday night and last saw him hours before police say a drunk, wrong-way driver plowed into Lorenzo, killing him instantly, as the officer rode his Highway Patrol Harley-Davidson Road King up I-95 on his way home early Sunday.

At 4:45 p.m. sharp on Thursday, the police department commanders and Highway Patrol unit, wearing their majestic navy-blue dress uniforms, marched in formation down Academy Road to the funeral home, a display of respect and solidarity for the fallen officer.

On Friday afternoon, Lorenzo, who leaves behind a wife, Linda, two adult children and a 4-year-old son, will be laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem following a funeral mass at noon at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Center City.

"The reason I ride is because of B-Lo," said Highway Patrol Officer Joe Moore, using the nickname Lorenzo picked up in the unit. "I can remember Brian talking to me, keeping me encouraged. I was discouraged, and B-Lo got me back in the game."

Lorenzo's comrades remembered him as a good cop who always smiled and never lost his patience when teaching officers new to Highway Patrol how to ride their motorcycles.

"He's one of those guys that helped me earn these," Moore said, indicating the Highway Patrol wings pinned onto his uniform. "[His death] broke my heart. I was sick. I'm still sick."

Moore and other officers said when he was alive, Lorenzo championed the cause of fallen police officers' survivors, participating in the annual ride to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to fallen officers' families and traveling to Washington, D.C., each year during National Police Week to help escort survivors to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

For Lorenzo's family, The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is sponsoring a benefit beginning Friday at 5 p.m. at the Egg's Nest, 7605 Roosevelt Boulevard. Donations can be made to the Brian Lorenzo Memorial Fund at the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union.

Lorenzo's squad donated a 3-by-3-foot flower arrangement made to look like the Highway Patrol patch to be placed near his casket at the funeral home, said Officer Andy Chan, a member of Lorenzo's squad who served as an honor guard.

"He's the best," Chan said in the wake of Lorenzo's death. "I wish more people would've known him while he was still living."

Lorenzo trained officers from municipalities throughout the region to ride and had recently finished a rigorous course in North Carolina to become a fully certified instructor, colleagues said. Officers from neighboring departments including Radnor Township and Ocean City and Longport in New Jersey came to pay their respects at the viewing.

"He loved to ride. He rode his motorcycle day in, day out," said Mallard, who had worked with Lorenzo since 2004.

When their squad rode in formation, Mallard's position was behind Lorenzo's.

"I rode directly behind Brian," Mallard said, his eyes glistening with tears. "And I'll follow him to the end of the Earth."

Contact Morgan Zalot at 215-854-5928 or zalotm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @morganzalot. Read her blog PhillyConfidential.com.

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