MANDEVILLE, La. (WVUE) - Funeral services took place today for a Mandeville Police captain and father of seven who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Family members had heartfelt messages for Captain Vincent Liberto at the Castine Center before a procession passed the Mandeville Police Department and ended with a full military honors at St. Lazarus of Bethany Memorial Garden.
Emotions have been running high in Mandeville all week long and culminated in Friday’s funeral procession.
Dozens lined the streets of Mandeville Friday afternoon as Capt. Vincent Liberto’s funeral made its way through town.
It was the culmination of an emotional day in which many of Liberto’s seven children spoke about a father who they say was their strength and inspiration.
“The final words my dad left me that I would love to share with you is ‘Don’t do anything that I wouldn’t do and if you do, do it three times better. And don’t call me if you get in trouble’,” said Liberto’s son Dominick.
Vincent and his brother Ignatius served in the Marine’s together and were diehard Saints fans.
“He told me that watching the Saints game on Sunday does count as your Catholic obligation. Because the good Lord knows that we certainly do enough praying during the game as well as invoking his name early and often. So, for Vinny can I get a very loud ‘Who Dat!’,” said his brother Ignatius.
And the audience joined him.
Mandeville leaders say they will stand with the Liberto family as they and the community deal with the first loss of a police officer in more than 60 years.
“The Libertos are as patriotic and as dedicated to our community and to our country as any family could be. And losing their rock, their leader we owe them a debt of gratitude,” says Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker.
Vincent Liberto III sent one last message to his father.
“To my father. You have made it to the stars. Rest easy pops. I’ve got the watch from here.”
At today’s funeral, all of Liberto’s children said he was their best friend who always advised them never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Following the funeral, a motorcade led more than 100 people to the burial site at St. Lazarus of Bethany Memorial Garden.
There was a 21 gun salute followed by Taps and then a flyover before Liberto was laid to rest. The flag from his casket was also folded and given to his family.
Flags lined the internment site and military and various law enforcement officers were present to also pay their respects.
The internment service also paid respect to Capt. Liberto’s years of service as three flags were posted near the casket: a flag with the Marine Seal, the American flag and the law enforcement black and blue stripped flag.
While friends, family and close loved ones sat graveside to say goodbye, the community was also very moved by Liberto’s passing and wanted to pay their respects as well, even if it meant sitting along the road to watch the motorcade drive past.
“Yes, I can’t imagine his seven children and his sons have followed in his footsteps and it shows what a special person he was,” says Mandeville resident Tracy Delatte.
Captain Liberto’s death had the Mandeville community mourning since last week.
Residents and onlookers say they wanted to pay their respects and honor him as a hero.