METAIRIE, La. – The Louisiana Law Enforcement Officers Memorial honored 10 fallen officers from around the state Wednesday night.
New Orleans Police Department Officer Rodney Thomas is one of them. He was enshrined at a monument at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemetery, joining hundreds of other officers killed in the line of duty.
“I think it's just an honor that he's able to be on this wall,” said Thomas’ son, Rodney Thomas, Jr.
The eight-year NOPD veteran was killed in July. Investigators say Porsche Panamera struck him on the Interstate 10 high rise and then drove off.
The vehicle was later found at a New Orleans body shop. According to court documents, surveillance cameras captured footage two people driving the vehicle into Best of the Best in the hours after the crash, then show of the body shop owner wiping blood off the hood. Police say bloody rags were found in garbage cans in the business.
“I really hope that maybe in some way, shape or form that they would understand the pain and the hurt and the severity of everything, because I don't think they really understand what they've done,” said Rodney Thomas, Jr.
Six suspects remain in custody for their involvement in Thomas’ death or alleged cover-up that followed. Their trial is scheduled for July.
“We think we made a very strong case. We believe the prosecutor has a very strong prosecution to go forward,” said New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
But the case is not without some hiccups. Suspect Kenneth Halley has some of the strongest charges and the highest bond, but he was accidentally released from a state correctional facility earlier this year. The state confirms he was back in custody three weeks later, this time, in Orleans Parish.
“Sometimes people make mistakes, I think in this case the Department of Corrections recognized really quickly that the hold the Orleans Parish system had on him should have been maintained,” said Serpas
Meanwhile, Rodney Thomas' family prays for justice, as the community honors the memory of those, like Thomas, who have fallen.
Other officers enshrined this year include:
· - Sergeant Frederick Albert Riggenbach, Chitimacha Tribal Police, End of Watch: 1/26/2013
· - Asst. Warden Peggy Lee Sylvester, Opelousas LA P.D., End of Watch: 4/14/2013
· - Deputy Sheriff Steven George Netherland, Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office, End of Watch: 6/24/2013
· - Deputy Sheriff Jeff Garrett Watson, St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office, End of Watch: 8/4/2013
· - Deputy Sheriff Eric J. Bellard, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, End of Watch: 9/1/2008
· - Constable Hezekiah James Augustus Reeves, Pineville LA Correctional Office, End of Watch: 12/24/1901
· - Patrolman John L. Hart, Shreveport LA P.D., End of Watch: 6/13/1875
· - Deputy Sheriff William N. Wright, Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, End of Watch: 10/6/1872
· - Deputy Sheriff James W. Wood, Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office, End of Watch: 3/12/1869