- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2001

The death of Metro Transit Police Officer Marlon Morales at the hands of a fare evader is no less honorable than if he had perished while saving a life, a church leader told mourners yesterday.
"No line-of-duty death is ever senseless or foolish or stupid. It is honorable," Monsignor Salvatore Cruiscuolo told the overflowing crowd of more than 1,200 gathered at St. Louis Catholic Church in Alexandria.
"That man or woman who gives himself in the line of duty does so with integrity, devotion and dedication."
After the Mass, six Metro officers carried the casket draped with an American flag amid hundreds of police officers outside for the escorted journey down Interstate 95 to Quantico National Cemetery.
The Prince Georges County Police Pipe Band played as the casket was lifted into the hearse.
Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson counted 154 motorcycles in the procession.
"I stopped counting at 300 cruisers," she said.
Officer Morales, a 32-year-old rookie and father of three, died on June 13, three days after a fare evader shot him in the back of the head at the Green Line U Street/African-American Civil War Museum/Cardozo station.
Walter Johnson, a convicted felon, is in custody in Philadelphia, charged in the death and awaiting extradition to the District.
"A shock wave has swept through our entire organization," Metro General Manager Richard White said during the funeral. "Even people who never met Marlon feel a personal sense of loss."
Said Metro Transit Police Chief Barry McDevitt: "The murder of Officer Morales is not acceptable and will continue to weigh heavily upon our hearts."
He urged his officers not to let this crime diminish their enthusiasm and promised Officer Morales widow that the killer will "find no solace."
Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson read a letter from President Bush stating, "Officer Morales sacrifice in the line of duty will not be forgotten. He earned the gratitude of all Americans."
Officer Morales, a native of Guatemala, served in the Persian Gulf War before graduating from the Metro Transit Police Department Academy in January.
He is the first Metro officer to die on duty since 1993, when Officer Harry Davis, an 11-year veteran, was slain during a traffic stop.
Officer Morales leaves his wife, Jennifer; sons Jeramy, 11, and Joshua, 8; and month-old daughter Meghan. He also is survived by his parents, Juan and Zoila Morales, brothers Omar and Jaime and sister Doris.
Mourners remembered Officer Morales as a devoted family man who once brought his cruiser home to let his children play with the "bells and whistles."
He thought of himself as quite a fisherman, although he spent less time fishing than buying equipment and driving to his favorite spot.
The officer often amused himself telling a joke — even though his audience couldnt find the punch line.
"His all-time favorite hobby?" Monsignor Cruiscuolo said. "Lying on the couch."
Officers from Metro Transit Police Class 54 wrote tributes to their friend in the program.
"I will always look up to Marlon. He will be my partner forever," wrote Officer Shenandoah Young.
Also in the program was a note written by Officer Morales during his short stay in the hospital to colleague Anthony Mendoza. It stated: "I know you are all here. Class 54 stays together."
Police officers from dozens of towns, counties and states filled the church yesterday or listened to speakers in the heat outside. About 100 Metro officers made up the largest law enforcement contingent.
Some teared up and others embraced during Communion and the procession to the hearse.
"We are proud officers, and well stand tall, and were going to move forward in his memory," said Metro Transit Officer J.K. Lee.
Capt. Joe Bober accompanied three other New Jersey transit police officers who traveled from Newark to attend the funeral.
Asked why he made the trip, the captain said, "No matter what uniform, were all brothers in law enforcement to protect and serve."

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