Funeral Held for Slain Vallejo Officer

Memorial service honored a dearly loved Vallejo police officer who was killed in the line of duty.

By Kellie Onaga
|  Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011  |  Updated 4:25 PM PDT
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Vallejo: Legacy of Fallen Police Officer

Jodi Hernandez

This car carrying the body of fallen officer circled the track during his funeral which was attended by thousands.

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Vallejo Mourns Police Officer's Death

An entire community is remembering a police officer sworn to serve and protect them. Officer James Capoot is being hailed as a man who always went above and beyond the call of duty -- for his family, his friends and his community. NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez reports from the Vallejo Police Department.

Vallejo: Legacy of Fallen Police Officer

Vallejo has seen tough financial times. Its police force has felt the brunt of increasing crime and a shrinking staff. But even as budget cuts lowered moral, one officer went above and beyond the call of duty. Fallen Officer James Capoot leaves behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd reports from Vallejo.
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Thousands of people traveled to Vallejo Wednesday, including Gov. Jerry Brown, to pay their last respects to a fallen Vallejo police officer.

Officer Jim Capoot was shot and killed on Nov. 17 while trying to catch a bank robbery suspect. 

Mourners said their final goodbyes at the service at Vallejo High School's Corbus Field. 

A police escort through city streets began at 10:30 a.m. ahead of an 11 a.m. service. Gov. Brown as well as Vallejo city council members, the school board and hundreds of police officers were among those in the crowd.

"Behold the sea of blue and the stars shining on every chest,"  Vallejo police Officer Alan Caragan said as he looked at the crowd of more  than 4,000 people.

His daughter Jamie said her father had a heart of gold. "He was my best friend. It was an honor to be his daughter," she said. "Dad, I'll forever have your back now. Rest in peace. Semper fi,  devil dog. Oo-rah!" 

The 45 year old's passing touched an entire community in Vallejo.  Capoot was a CHP officer, marine and served 19 years on the Vallejo Police Department.  He was Vallejo's officer of the year in 2000 and received two medals of courage and a life saving medal.  The husband and father also once coached the Vallejo High School girl's basketball team. 

One former player told NBC Bay Area that he helped them get new jerseys, took them to his house and taught them never to give up.  She said she considers him a motivator and a friend.

"Basketball was the only reason I continued school," another player  named Allessandra Jefferson said.

The service concluded with a 21-gun salute by Marine Corps members and a helicopter flyover. One of the helicopters broke away  from the three others in formation, circled back to the field, then flew  overhead slowly.

Capoot leaves behind his wife and three daughters.

Shortly after he was killed, police arrested Fairfield resident Henry Albert Smith Jr., 37, for the shooting. Smith pleaded not  guilty to murder charges Tuesday.

Capoot, who had been with the Police Department for 19 years, is the fourth Vallejo police officer killed in the line of duty in the city's 155-year history.

A former U.S. Marine, Capoot worked as a California Highway Patrol officer from 1990 until 1992, when he joined the Vallejo Police Department.

On the Vallejo police force, he served as a motorcycle officer and instructor, a force operations instructor and a SWAT officer.

A trust fund has been established for his family at the Bank of the West in Vallejo. Donations can be made out to the Officer James Capoot  Family Trust and mailed to the Vallejo Police Officers' Association, care of  Sgt. Mark Nichol, P.O. Box 4218, Vallejo, CA, 94590.

Those seeking more information about how to donate can call (707) 644-3913.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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