HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eric Fontes touched many lives as a police officer, family man and church leader. Hundreds of mourners gathered at Borthwick Mortuary on Friday to pay their last respects. The memorial service drew many first responders, as well as neighbors, former classmates and friends.
"It hit hard. I lost a brother. And to me, still not over it," said Corporal Alfred Collins of the Honolulu Police Department. "But we all gotta move on and we're still gonna remember Eric."
Those close to Fontes said they will miss his laughter and kind heart.
"He loved to spread God's word. That was his mission in life. He's just a great guy, and we're just going to miss hearing him," said Kaipo Nuuanu, Fontes' brother-in-law.
Fontes, 45, grew up on Molokai. He later moved to Oahu and got married. He joined the Honolulu Police Department seven years ago, and hoped to one day become a police chaplain.
"Eric ministered in the community," Collins. "Good family man. Awesome family man. He'd come to work, he'd lift spirits up."
"He just had a way of knowing what you needed. Some days he'd come over and just start preaching, and some days he'd tell a joke. He just knew," said Leah Burrows-Nuuanu, Fontes' sister.
Fontes died earlier this month during a traffic stop near Ko Olina. He was hit by a pickup truck that veered off Farrington Highway. The driver, James Dorsey Mancao, reportedly told police he fell asleep at the wheel. The Hawaii Army National Guard private is free while authorities investigate. At the funeral, Fontes' family spoke of forgiveness.
"We just wish the best for him and hope that this doesn't cause any more pain for him," said Burrows-Nuuanu.
Officers will line up in front of HPD headquarters on Wednesday for a final farewell.
"He'll always be with us. That's how we all feel on our watch right now with Eric," said Collins.
Fontes is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren. Funeral services will also be held on Molokai on October 8.