CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Officer Fred Thornton was buried Tuesday afternoon at Sharon Memorial Park in east Charlotte.
The hearse carrying his body drove into the cemetery followed quickly by the SWAT team he'd served with for more than 20 years.
The entire SWAT team only missing Thornton -- filed in wearing their work fatigues. His SWAT family surrounded Thornton s wife and four kids as much of the CMPD family surrounded them.
The turn out, with everybody, showed the camaraderie and really the love of a fellow officer who gave his life for the community, said Sheriff Chipp Bailey.
The police helicopters that so often accompanied Thornton s SWAT missions flew overhead and performed the missing man formation.
At the fallen officer s graveside, the bagpipes played, there was a 21 gun salute, and Taps was performed as well.
When most of the crowd had cleared, just a few SWAT officers remained, placing their hands on Thornton s casket, taking a quiet moment to say goodbye to one of their leaders and their friend.