- Associated Press - Saturday, May 14, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas City, Kansas, police detective who was shot and killed while on duty earlier this week was remembered Saturday as a hero and loving father who devoted his life to serving others.

Detective Brad Lancaster, 39, was shot at least twice when he responded Monday to a call for assistance with a suspicious suspect near the Kansas Speedway. Lancaster, an Air Force veteran and married father of two daughters, died later at a hospital.

Curtis Ayers, 28, of Tonganoxie, is charged with capital murder in Lancaster’s death. Authorities haven’t discussed a motive for the shooting. Ayers was taken into custody later Monday after he was shot and wounded by authorities in Kansas City, Missouri.

The police department has been hit hard by Lancaster’s death, Chief Terry Zeigler said at the service, which was held at Children’s Mercy Park and attended by law enforcement officers from across the country, The Kansas City Star reported (https://j.mp/23QKFQg ).

“Losing him leaves a hole in our heart that will take a long time to heal,” Zeigler said. “There’s no doubt that Brad Lancaster is a hero. Not because of how he died, but how he chose to live his life.”

He said Lancaster was “born to serve others” and was doing just that Monday when he “encountered pure evil, the same kind of evil that has taken so many law enforcement lives around the nation.”

Officer Chris Blake, a close friend of Lancaster’s, said he raced to the hospital to be with Lancaster after the shooting. He said he held Lancaster’s hand until he was taken into surgery.

“I will be forever grateful for those moments I had with him,” Blake said.

Fellow Officer Danon Vaughn sang “Amazing Grace” with tears streaming down his face and had to pause briefly to compose himself.

Toward the end of the service, the Rev. Mark Holland spoke of Lancaster’s love for his family, joking around and for fireworks.

“Because Brad’s not here to blow anything up, we know, nevertheless, he would want to go out with a bang,” Holland said. At that point, a round of fireworks went off on the soccer field behind Lancaster’s flag-draped coffin.

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