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LMPD's Officer Nick Rodman is escorted through Louisville on Saturday | by Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916
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LMPD's Officer Nick Rodman is escorted through Louisville on Saturday

Hundreds of Louisville residents, people who knew Officer Nick Rodman and many who didn't, gathered along a processional route Saturday afternoon to give a heartfelt salute before the young police officer and father of two is laid to rest this week.


Rodman was killed in the line of duty last week after a suspect racing ahead of a police pursuit smashed his cruiser Tuesday in west Louisville. He died on Wednesday.


With a string of police cruisers leading the way, a hearse carrying Rodman's body trailed by his family passed locations that were a big part of the 30-year-old's life. The procession went down Southern Parkway, past Holy Cross School on Dixie Highway and the LMPD First Division Station on North 416 N. 29th St.


At the First Division, officers in Rodman's platoon stepped forward and laid red roses on the hood of the hearse when it stopped briefly. As the procession wound down Southern Parkway, over St. Andrews Church Road and Blanton Lane to head north on Dixie Highway, dozens of people turned out in front of Doss High School and at churches and shops. Some held signs and American flags and balloons.


Perhaps the biggest groups showed up around the entrance to Holy Cross, where Rodman, a 2005 graduate, played football and his dad George was the coach. His brother Andy also played.


Several hundred friends, teachers, alumni and former football teammates of Rodman, who wore their black jerseys from playing days, waited on the sidewalks. Someone had rounded up Rodman's No. 45 jerseys. As the procession came north from Blanton, the teammates, about 20 in all, crossed to the middle of the shut-down roadway to be closer as the hearse passed. The crowd on the west side of the street followed, filling the middle of the highway that police had temporarily blocked off.


The procession stopped, and George Rodman got out and stretched out his arms as he approached his former players. They swarmed him in a massive huddle. Those looking on sobbed uncontrollably.


"It was just unbelievable how good a kid he was," said Brian Neuner, whose son Brian was Rodman's best friend. He'd come with his son and other family members to pay his respects.


Rodman was part of close-knit group of guys who hung together after graduation, said Tony Kellow, 30. The two had played on the team together and stayed in close touch until their obligations as dads let them drift apart.


Kellow had gotten off his job as a UPS third-shift supervisor last week when he'd heard that a Rodman had been critically injured in a police chase. "I heard Rodman on the news. I thought, 'I know three Rodmans.' I'm kind of speechless about all of it."


Public visitation will be held Monday from noon to 7 pm. at Arch L. Heady at Resthaven Funeral Home, 4400 Bardstown Road. An 11 a.m. memorial is set for Tuesday at Southeast Christian Church, 920 Blankenbaker Parkway, followed by a burial and graveside service at Cave Hill Cemetery.

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Uploaded on April 2, 2017