Only a year and a half after joining the ranks of the San Antonio Police Department, comrades gathered on a cold January morning to say goodbye to Officer Edrees Mukhtar.
For Police Chief William McManus, the final farewell to a fallen officer never gets easier.
"Very sad morning, very sad event,” he said. “It's nothing you ever, ever get used to."
Born in Afghanistan, McManus said Mukhtar came to the United States at a young age and lived in New York.
Mukhtar was responding to a non-emergency call on Dec. 10 when he hit a water spot on the road and lost control; McManus said Mukhtar was going above the speed limit. He died nearly three weeks later due to injuries sustained in the accident.
During the non-traditional ceremony Wednesday, friends, family members and colleagues from around the state gathered inside Porter Loring Mortuary on McCullough near downtown.
Afterward, they gathered outside with heavy hearts and saluted Mukhtar as a rifle salute echoed throughout midtown, followed by a police helicopter flyover and bagpipes solemnly playing in the background.
"[He] loved his job, loved the city, loved serving people," said McManus.
McManus said the police department honored the family’s wishes by providing a non-traditional ceremony.
"Officer Mukhtar is from the Muslim faith, and his family followed Muslim tradition in his death, and therefore we had no funeral procession or graveside procession," he said.
According to the San Antonio Police Department web site, Mukhtar is the sixth officer to die in the line of duty since McManus became the chief of police seven years ago.
“I think that it's a very harsh reminder on every occasion when we lose an officer that life is very fragile; it can be gone in an instant and everyone realizes that and I think that's one of the things that makes this so difficult,” McManus said.