Thousands attend funeral held for Mass. officer shot during traffic stop

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AUBURN, Mass.  -- A police officer, a husband, and a father of three was laid to rest Friday after he was tragically killed on the job protecting those he vowed to serve.

Thousands of fellow officers from across New England and the country, family, and friends gathered in Charlton to say a final goodbye to Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino, 42.

He was shot in the back during a traffic stop early Sunday morning by a man with a long criminal history. The suspect was later killed during an exchange of gunfire with police.

Prior to the service, beautiful music was played outside of the church as fellow officers from departments near and far stood by.

Spenser Tarentino and his brothersOfficer Tarentino was remembered for his larger-than-life personality and a smile that could light up the room. He leaves behind a wife and three sons.

Tarentino loved the outdoors and had an affinity for fixing cars. One of his prized Mustangs was on display at the church, directly across from his police cruiser.

Tarentino's widow spoke before the funeral service. She shared how she'll always remember her beloved husband of nearly 20 years and thanked everyone for their support.

"The generosity everyone has shown, considerate words, stories people have shared about the character they have seen in Ron and the fond memories were really uplifting...It's amazing to see how many lives he has touched and how each of you have shown how much you love him," said Tricia Tarentino.

Later, Tarentino's son Spenser spoke while standing next to his two brothers inside the church:

I'd like to, um, say something that I know a lot of you guys are thinking and that's that police officers, actually many have said this, police officers deserve so much more respect than they get. Like I said, you all do one of the hardest jobs in the world and people are so disrespectful. And I hope that my dad did not go in vain and that something good comes out of this in that people realize that they need to start realizing and addressing police officers for everything that they do. I can't do anything but hope that obviously something good comes out of this.

A fund was set up to help the family. Donations can be sent to the Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. Memorial Fund at Savers Bank in Auburn.