Thousands of mourners paid their respects to fallen Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia at a wake Wednesday.
The 38-year-old died a hero Friday as he tried to rescue a 14-year-old boy, identified by family as Troy Love, who also drowned in Green Hill Pond.
Starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, a steady stream of police officers, firefighters, first responders and Worcester residents started pouring into St. Johns Catholic Church. Familia's funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.
Twelve-year-old Ryan Muscara was among those who turned out Wednesday to pay his respects.
"I feel like one of my family members has died, I care about the police so much," Muscara said. "I just feel so sorry for the family — they need support."
Retired firefighter Paul Coyne was moved to tears by Familia's sacrifice.
"It is one big family," Coyne said. "They are all our children, he is a real hero."
Police closed down a portion of Temple Street near the church, from Harding to Green Street, starting at 1 p.m. due to the large crowds expected to attend.
Familia was a five-year police department veteran. He was born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, and moved to Worcester as a young boy, according to his obituary.
He graduated from the city’s Doherty Memorial High School in 2001, attended Quinsigamond Community College and was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College.
Familia leaves a wife and two teenage children. City and state officials have ordered flags flown at half-staff in his honor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.