TACOMA, Wash. - Thin blue line flags flew high in honor of Deputy Dom Calata late Saturday afternoon, as his body was transported from St. Joseph Hospital.
A law enforcement motorcade led Calata to the medical examiner’s office.
"He was just the best guy you've ever met, he's so genuine, so friendly so honest, a true pillar of the community, he's a hero," said Jary Kagey, a friend of Calata.
A hero our community now mourns for his selfless duty to serve and protect. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, surgeons, and St. Joseph medical staff filled the halls as the fallen hero was wheeled out.
The 35-year-old husband and father died after being shot Tuesday while serving a felony warrant.
"A heartbreaking loss for everyone to have someone so young, so accomplished so big in the community," said Kagey.
Kagey has known Dom for years, and said their friendship grew as they became adults. Dom was a groomsman at his wedding.
"Whenever you needed a friend he was there for you," Kagey said.
On Saturday, Kagey joined his SWAT team members, law enforcement, first responders, dispatchers, friends and family for the movement of his remains from the hospital to the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.
It was an emotional sight as Deputy Calata's remains were carried by his team members.
"Dom loved being on SWAT and those guys are super close," said Sgt. Darren Moss.
The fallen deputy took one last ride in the bearcat, where he was accompanied by his commander Sgt. Rich Scaniffe, who was just released from hospital Friday. His arrival at the Medical Examiner's office was met with salutes by his brothers and sisters as his team clung onto the bearcat guiding him in.
"It was beautiful," said Moss.
It was an emotional and painful day, knowing the community has lost a man who dedicated his life to service.
"He's just the true American hero," said Kagey.
Yet, his fellow officers are grateful to know he continues to save lives even after his death.
As his chapter in life comes to a close, he still has one final act of service—giving the gift of life. Calata is an organ donor, and his choice will save several lives.
"He might not be here, but his legacy is going to continue to live on in these other people's lives, and his family is going to know that," said Moss.
A loss felt deeply.
"There's just nothing that can fill that hole," said Kagey.
Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram