Thousands attended a funeral service for the Florida police officer, NYPD veteran and native Long Islander who was shot and killed last week in the line of duty near Tampa, according to reports.
Police said Charles Kondek, 45, an officer with the Tarpon Springs Police Department, was shot in the chest by ex-convict Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., 23, about 3 a.m. Dec. 21 after responding to a noise complaint.
Police have said Parilla, who has been charged with first-degree murder, shot Kondek because he feared going back to prison. He had 30 previous felony arrests and was on supervised release after serving prison time for a drug offense, officials said.
Thousands of local residents and police officers attended Saturday's service, according to the website for Bay News 9, a Tampa TV station.
Kondek's daughter Aleena, 15, recalled him as a doting husband and father, according to a video posted on the Bay News 9 website. "My dad died as a hero," Aleena said at the service. "Family was my dad's first priority. . . . Every Valentine's Day, he would bring flowers to school or work for his daughters. He never missed a game, he never missed meetings, he never missed appointments."
The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association is collecting donations for the Kondek family. The PBA is selling T-shirts commemorating his life and service that say "Never Forget," and "Charlie K." The organization's Facebook page says donations to the family can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank to the Officer Charles Kondek Memorial Fund.
Kondek served five years with the NYPD at precincts in Washington Heights in Manhattan and the East New York section of Brooklyn. He was a 17-year veteran of the Tarpon Springs Police Department.
Kondek grew up in North Massapequa, graduating from Plainedge High School, and he lived in Bethpage for about a decade, according to relatives.