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'He is a brother policeman'
Mourners pay tribute to first gay cop killed in line of duty
John Koopman, Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers
Monday, June 17, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle.


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More than 2,000 people attended a funeral Mass today for San Francisco police Officer Jon Cook, who was killed last week when his patrol car crashed into a second police car in the Mission District.

Hundreds of officers from throughout Northern California -- from South Lake Tahoe to San Jose to Oakland -- packed St. Mary's Cathedral on Geary Boulevard.

Other officers stood somberly outside in memory of Cook, 38, the department's first gay officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Cook's domestic partner, Jared Strawderman, and relatives followed the flag- draped casket of the officer into the church. Officers, their badges wrapped in black bands of mourning, stood at attention and saluted as police bagpipers played a mournful tune.

Strawderman and Cook would have celebrated their third anniversary this month.

Cook died about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when the police car he was driving collided with a second patrol car at 17th and Dolores streets.

Four officers, two in each car, had been responding to the Castro to assist in the arrest of a man suspected of gouging out his girlfriend's left eye.

The domestic-violence suspect, Monte Haney, 29, was later arrested blocks away.

Police said a phenomenon known as "washout," in which competing sets of emergency sirens drown each other out, may have contributed to the crash.

Three other officers were hurt. Officer Nick Ferrando, 25, suffered serious head injuries and remains at San Francisco General Hospital. Officers David Lee and Mike Celis have been released from the hospital.

At today's Mass, the Rev. John Ranallo addressed mourners, saying the Gospel writers "don't give us an explanation of why our loved ones are ripped away from us. They just offer the hope of redemption."

Ranallo added, "You are here today because he touched you, and he is a brother policeman. Whether you knew him or not, he affected each of us."

About 300 San Francisco officers were joined by 300 officers from other departments. They wore full dress uniforms and white gloves.

Also attending were state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Mayor Willie Brown,

Police Chief Fred Lau, Police Commission President Sydney Chan, Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano, Mission District police station Capt. Greg Corrales and Sgt. Chuck Limbert, a close friend of Cook.

Corrales said Cook was an officer who always wanted to be on the scene to arrest the bad guys.

"I'll always remember John racing to catch a heinous criminal, red lights and sirens going," Corrales said outside the church. "And that was the last emotion he ever felt on this earth."

In the Castro, residents described Cook as an officer who always looked out for them.

He was a former biotech researcher who had a master's degree in biotechnology. He served as a lieutenant in Air Force intelligence before he joined the San Francisco Police Department in April 2001.

Cook is the 95th San Francisco officer in the department's history to die in the line of duty. He will be buried in a private ceremony in Oregon, his home state.

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