Residents offer flowers, balloons and respect along fallen officer’s procession route
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Countless numbers of residents along the procession route offered up thoughts and prayers as they came out to honor Officer Breann Leath Thursday afternoon.
It was a route that was filled with history important to Leath and her family.
The route was a full 24 miles plus a 2.5 mile lap around the track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Three-year-old Sanaa Beasley watched the procession with her mother Tonya Jones on East Washington Street. She had seen others offering up flowers and persuaded Jones to let her do the same.
She already knows the job of officers like Breann Leath.
“To keep people safe,” Beasley said, then nodded as her mom asked if they came out to show their respect.
They both live in Leath’s district.
“She does understand that there’s a lot of good out here, not just evil,” Jones said.
It was a procession that stretched two miles long. It was led by a motorcade and followed by countless police cars and then the funeral coach.
At Monument Circle, they drove beneath the large garrison flag held up by ladder trucks from the fire department.
Many like Larry Brackin came to show their respect, often with masks and at a safe social distance as requested by police and Officer Leath’s family.
“It’s a great honor, period,” Brackin said. “Prayers to everyone that knew her, everyone involved. It’s a sad situation.”
Ryan Shouse was also on the Circle.
“The city of Indianapolis is with her and her family and supports and recognizes the sacrifices she made to all of us,” he said.
Leath was just 24 years old. It is a young age that hits home for Lori May, whose child is just a year ahead.
“It’s very heartbreaking because she was doing her job,” May said. “It hits home when you’re a mom, you think about that. I can’t even imagine.”
She also offers the family her support in their time of grief.
“I’m praying for them and will continue to pray for them that God will somehow health their hearts,” May said.
The procession drove by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office where both of Leath’s parents work. Row after row of deputies and staff stood at attention.
It then headed out Washington Street, past Sanaa and Tonya to where Terrell Frierson has been waiting all day with two large bags of balloons.
“I’ve been waiting on her to pass by my house since 7 o’clock this morning, just so me and my family could release the balloons and let her know that there are people out there other than her family that do respect and think about her,” Frierson said. “We send the balloons up with airs and prayers and hope they all reach where they’re supposed to go.
He never met Leath, but still this procession brings him to tears.
“I was just showing respect, me and my family were just showing respect where respect is due. She deserves all the respect we could give her,” Frierson said. “I just lost my old man a little while ago so it’s hard. So I know what they’re going through because I just went through it.”
In fact, as a son, his heart goes to Breann’s young son Zayn. His promise could well echo for an entire city.
“I hope her son knows he’s not the only one in this world. We all have his back,” he said.
Most of the cars in the procession were fellow officers on Leath’s middle shift and those from her graduating class from the police academy, along with IMPD command staff, the mayor and Leath’s family.
They stopped for a final 10-42 at her East District headquarters, before heading north on Shadeland and I-70 for the drive to Crown Hill Cemetery.
A city mourning and a city honoring at every turn, including in the eyes of 3-year-old Sanaa, the same age as a boy who no longer has a mother.
Jones believes even at 3, her daughter will remember this.
“I do,” she said.
Sanaa did give her flowers to an officer, one of countless who stopped traffic along Washington Street.