Funeral, burial services for LMPD Officer Zachary Cottongim held in Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The funeral service for Louisville Metro Police Department Officer Zachary Cottongim was held at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville before he was laid to rest at Cave Hill Cemetery in the Highlands with full police honors.
Cottongim died on Saturday after being hit by a car on Interstate 64.
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A law enforcement-led procession to Cave Hill Cemetery took nearly a half hour to file past the cemetery gates. A steady stream of flashing lights included jurisdictions across the state and beyond, one from as far away as Florida. A small group gathered at the gates, holding flags, expressing sorrow and their gratitude.
“It’s so senseless that something this simple that they do for us, you don’t think about,” Karen Harris said. “You think about them being in the line of fire but you don’t think about them being on the expressway being hit by a car. But anything can happen.”
“My heart is heavy as I stand here today,” LMPD Chief Erika Shields said. “We should not be here.”
Shields was among the roughly 1,000 people in attendance for the funeral Wednesday.
Retired LMPD Sgt. David Burns spoke too, sharing everything he loved about Zach. Burns served alongside Cottongim’s father Dale in Desert Storm and again in law enforcement. He said if there was anything to take away from Cottongim’s death, it’s one simple thing.
“Be like Zach,” Burns said. “Don’t just hashtag it. Don’t just put it on a t-shirt. Be like Zach. Do it, live it. Deeds not words. Be like Zach.”
LMPD Officer Bobby Lewis spoke on behalf Cottongim’s family. Lewis recalled one witness’ testimony that he said proves, even in the face of death, how much Cottongim loved his family, especially his wife Jamie.
“The man says, I see that you’re married,” Lewis said the witness told him before Cottongim’s death. “Zach, in all his pain, gave a big smile. That’s how much he loves you, Jamie.”
Cottongim was laid to rest with full honors including a 21-gun salute and bagpipes playing Amazing Grace.
A customary “End of Watch” radio call from a police dispatcher described Cottongim as serving “with honor, integrity and distinction.”
Cottongim, a husband and father of two boys, worked for LMPD for seven years. To assist his family, donate to the LMPD fundraiser by clicking here.
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