Funeral held for fallen New Bern officer - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Funeral held for fallen New Bern officer

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NEW BERN, N.C. - "Officer Thalmann’s legacy will forever remind us that there still exists a thin blue line between good and evil. And we as law enforcement officers must remain ready to stand between good and evil, protect and serve," said New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers.

It was a final and somber goodbye this Friday for fallen New Bern Officer Alexander Thalmann.
Law enforcement and military members from all over the country descended on New Bern Friday to salute a young and very brave man.

Temple Baptist Church in New Bern was the site of one of the most beautiful and powerful ceremonies the east has seen.

Summers took the podium, recounting his initial job interview with Thalmann, saying the young 22-year-old described professionalism as doing the right thing when no one's looking.

Another question he recalled, what would Thalmann say is the perfect job? He said his reply [was], to be happy.
It was moments like that that stood out.
As part of the hour-long service, his life-long friends and those who knew him best took time to celebrate his young life, which ended Monday, March 31st after a weekend shooting near the Craven Terrace Apartments.
Thalmann joined the New Bern Police Department last August. He was also a Marine Corps reservist. He graduated from Washington High School in 2010 and finished school at Beaufort County Community College last June.
Officer Thalmann is survived by his mother, Stacey Thalmann, who we heard from earlier this week,
two sisters, and a brother.

Friday afternoon, more than a thousand people paid their respects to officer Thalmann.

Law enforcement from across the state and country came to Temple Baptist Church to remember Office Thalmann and to show his family that they were not alone in their mourning.
One group called the Brotherhood of The Fallen came from the Chicago Police Department to pay their respects. The group has attended more than 100 funerals since beginning 4 years ago and 4 funerals just this week. They said it was important for them to meet with the family to show their respects.

"We were here yesterday. We went to the wake yesterday,” said Nathalie Gregerson, Chicago PD. “And we gave, we spoke to the mother, and we gave her our condolences."

Another group that came to the funeral was the NC Patriot Guard Riders, an organization devoted to honoring fallen officers and members of the military.

"What more can you ask of an individual, what more can you ask of a family, than to have their loved one sacrifice his life," said Charles Ballas, NC Patriot Guard Riders.

Those sentiments were shared with many who showed up to the funeral.

Following the funeral, Marines placed the casket into a Caisson Unit, pulled by 4 horses, that traveled a long way to New Bern specifically for the honor.
The Caisson Unit is the only one of its kind in the United States, offered in a partnership between the State Trooper's Association and the Highway Patrol.    
A hearse carried the body through downtown New Bern to Thalmann's final resting place in Washington.
It was a procession like the city of New Bern has never seen.

One of the most touching moments in the processional happened at the New Bern Police Department. The hearse pulled by Officer Thalmann's memorial, his own squad car, before making the trip to his final resting place.

The procession was breathtaking.
Dozens of people lined the streets. But the crowd stood quiet for more than 30 minutes as Officer Thalmann’s procession passed by.

Young girls lined American flags right in front of the police station. Firefighters also lifted an American and New Bern flag that Officer Thalmann’s procession road right under.
As Officer Thalmann’s hearse passed by his patrol car one last time, firefighter saluted the fallen officer by standing at attention. 
The crowd placed their hands over hearts and some waved American flags, all showing respect to Officer Thalmann.  A procession of hundreds of law enforcement agencies from all over the state followed behind, car after car flashing their blue lights as they passed by.
Heather Underhill works for the Cape Careret Fire Department and says she came out here to honor Officer Thalmann.

“It was amazing. It was very patriotic and truly shows what a hero he really is. Just bless everyone that came out here and supported him and god bless him and his family," said Heather Underhill.

It’s a moment and man that New Bern and many people in eastern North Carolina will never forget.

Several hundred people follwed the funeral procession to Officer Thalmann's final resting place at Oakdale Cemetery in Washington.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Officer Alexander Thalmann Memorial Fund at First Citizens Bank. If you wish to make a donation, you can go to any First Citizens Bank location in Craven, Pamlico, Pitt, Carteret and Beaufort counties.

Online condolences may be made to the Thalmann family at

--- Previous Story ---

A visitation to honor the memory of 22-year-old Alexander Thalmann took place Thursday. Police officers from as far away as Raleigh came to honor their fallen brother.
9 On Your Side spoke with Thalmann's friend, Beaufort County Deputy Sheriff Zach Martin. He frequently gave ride-alongs to Thalmann before and after he completed training. Martin says he'll miss Thalmann's passion for police work.

"Just him calling and telling me about how much he loves it and how much, just how much he loves it and getting those text messages saying 'Hey man, I just saw you on that traffic stop. Looking good, bud. Looking good.' Just going to miss that," said Zach Martin, Beaufort County Deputy Sheriff.
Wednesday night, Thalmann was honored at a memorial service in his hometown, Washington. His mother spoke of his love for the job.

"And I'm so happy that he was doing something he loved doing because so many people don't,” said Stacey Thalmann. “And I want to thank you all for coming. Thank you"

The funeral service for Thalmann isn't until Friday, but the city honored him in a different way Wednesday. The town held a wreath laying ceremony to honor Officer Thalmann for his service to the town, the community, and state.

Hundreds of people came out to pay their respects to Officer Thalmann at the ceremony.
City and law enforcement officials stood side by side with members of the community to show their support to the New Bern Police Department and to honor Officer Thalmann for sacrificing his life to ensure the community remained safe.
New Bern mayor Dana Outlaw said he believes Officer Thalmann is in a better place now.

"What happened, happened,” said Mayor Dana Outlaw, New Bern. “We don't know why it happened. But we know one thing. That if you believe, whatever your belief is. My belief is that there's a better place that we can all be."

The mood at the ceremony was very somber and quiet as the community continues to heal.

Police say Thalmann died Monday after he was shot in the face by a suspect over the weekend. His body was transported back to New Bern from Greenville Tuesday afternoon. Officers with Greenville Police, Pitt County Sheriff's Office deputies, and North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers escorted the fallen officer's body.  The transport arrived in New Bern around 1:30 pm on Hwy 17 bridge to East Front Street then to Cotton Funeral Home on Neuse Blvd.

Flags flew at half-staff in New Bern in honor of the fallen officer.

9 On Your Side is continuing to track the investigation after Thalmann was shot and killed last weekend.

He died Monday afternoon around 1 p.m.  New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers made the announcement a short time later from the Greenville Police Department.

"With deepest sympathy that I announce that New Bern Police officer Alexander Thalmann  passed away at just after p.m. today, his family by his side," said Summers.

New Bern police say suspect Brian Stallings shot Thallman in the face at Craven Terrace housing projects.  Police say Thallman stopped Stallings while walking for suspicious behavior and, at some point, Stallings took off.
Officer Thallman and another officer, Justin Wester, chased after Stallings and police say Stallings shot both of them. Wester then shot Stallings several times, killing him, on the scene.

Officer Thalmann and Wester were both taken to the hospital. Wester was released, but Thalmann remained hospitalized throughout the weekend until his death Monday.

Early indications are that the shooting was justified. However, District Attorney Scott Thomas says the investigation will take about two weeks.

However, Alderman Bernard White has concerns about the investigation.

"The law's going to watch out for the law," Alderman White said. "People are taught to take care of their own. Family's going to look out for family so I'll turn it over to the Lord."

Some people in New Bern say they're now worried about safety in their community.

"It's a real scary feeling knowing something like that could happen so close to you in such a small neighborhood,” Justin Petrosky, New Bern resident. “You wouldn't think something like that will ever happen."

Since the shooting, police have increased patrols in the city.

Governor Pat McCrory also reacted to the tragedy.
He issued this statement following Officer Thalmann's death, “My heart is broken for Officer Thalmann and his loved ones. Our first responders are true heroes and we shouldn't let a day go by without praying for their safety and thanking them for their valued service to North Carolina."
New Bern's police chief says the department is taking the loss of one of their officers hard.

"This has been a very tough time for the department and for the community,” said Summers. “We have received an outpouring of support from law enforcement across the area, across the state, and across state lines."

A memorial has been set up outside New Bern's police headquarters. The memorial is a New Bern police car draped in black and decorated with bouquets of flowers.

Officer Thalmann had been on the job just seven months. He was also a lance corporal with the Marine Corps Reserve.

Stay with 9 On Your Side for more details.

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