CRIME
07/25/2016 04:59 pm ET Updated Jul 26, 2016

Thousands Gather To Mourn Beloved Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson

Jackson was fatally shot just one day before his son turned 4 months old.
Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson holds his son Mason at a Father's Day event for police officers in Baton Rouge. J
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson holds his son Mason at a Father's Day event for police officers in Baton Rouge. Jackson was killed in an ambush on police officers on July 17, and his funeral service was held Monday.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Thousands of mourners gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Monday to remember slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson as a beloved husband, father, son, brother and friend. 

Jackson, 32, was a 10-year veteran on the force when he and two other cops were fatally gunned down in a July 17 ambush here. 

Close to 3,000 people attended a memorial service for him at the Living Faith Christian Center, including law enforcement officers from around the country and even some Canadian mounties. 

Police officers and mourners gather at Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge to pay respects to Montrell Jac
DAVID LOHR/THE HUFFINGTON POST
Police officers and mourners gather at Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge to pay respects to Montrell Jackson.

“Look at that outpouring of love expressed here today from all over the country and Canada ... Today, we’re rising up and taking back our streets,” said Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden on the massive show of support. “No hatred, there will always be love.”

Jackson’s family and friends put together an elaborate program for the service, with page after page filled with photographs and sentiments celebrating the hero they love and miss.

A page from the program for Montrell Jackson's memorial service. 
David Lohr/HuffPost
A page from the program for Montrell Jackson's memorial service. 

“All I wanted to do was be like you ... I love you, man,” Jackson’s 24-year-old half-brother, Kendrick Pitts, said at the ceremony. “Mom loves you. Your wife loves you. Your son loves you. The whole world loves you.”

Close friend Gelrod Armstrong described Jackson as respectful and someone who “lived his life as best as you could.”

Montrell Jackson's friends and family remember him in the program for his memorial service.
David Lohr/HuffPost
Montrell Jackson's friends and family remember him in the program for his memorial service.

Another friend, Corporal Ivory Taylor Jr., who served in the police department with Jackson, said the two of them “laughed together, cried together” and that Jackson’s “legacy will live in all of us.”

The casket for slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson departs his funeral on Monday.
David Lohr/Huffington Post
The casket for slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson departs his funeral on Monday.

Jackson penned a heartbreaking letter on Facebook about how difficult it is to be a black man in America as well as a cop patrolling the city of Baton Rouge in the aftermath of the deaths of Alton Sterling and the five police officers in Dallas.

“I’m tired physically and emotionally,” he wrote. “I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat.”

The letter was posted on July 8, just two weeks before his death. 

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. referenced this letter in his remarks, and also described Jackson as having “a heart of gold” and being an officer who “represented the very best of the blue.”

“He had grit and determination ... He was an officer of the law who served with dignity and distinction [and] his end of watch came too soon,” he continued. “Bless the sacrifice of my fallen officer.”

A blanket bearing Montrell Jackson's likeness at his funeral.
DAVID LOHR/THE HUFFINGTON POST
A blanket bearing Montrell Jackson's likeness at his funeral.

Services for the other two officers killed in the attack, Matthew Gerald and Deputy Brad Garafola, were held Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Trenisha Jackson, right, wife of slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson, attends the funeral for her husband on Mo
David Lohr/Huffington Post
Trenisha Jackson, right, wife of slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson, attends the funeral for her husband on Monday.

Gavin Eugene Long, the gunman who killed them, was a former Marine who officials believe was targeting law enforcement. A SWAT team member fatally shot Long after he started shooting. In addition to killing Garafola, Gerald and Jackson, Long wounded three other officers.

Jackson is survived by his wife, Trenisha, and newborn son, Mason, who turned 4 months old the day after Jackson was killed. 

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