ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WJBK) - A final salute to Detroit police Capt. Kenneth Steil as hundreds packed St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in St. Clair Shores Friday.
Steil was shot in the line of duty last week and died Saturday, the same day he was supposed to go home.
Nearly to a person, those who lined the street felt proud to live in a community that honors the life a police officer in this way. A fitting tribute to a man that was constantly referred to as a superhero.
"I've been to quite a few of these and they are always pretty somber," said Willie Smith, retired Detroit police officer.
Steil's death is an immeasurable loss felt from Detroit leaders ...
"It is the worst thing that's happened in the three years I've been mayor," said Mayor Mike Duggan.
"He is a Detroit police officer. he is an American hero," said Detroit Chief James Craig. "I'm proud I had a chance to be a leader in the organization (where) he went out and did the work that he did."
... to those who never even met Detroit police Capt. Ken Steil.
"I just feel very sad for the family," said Betty Loeher, St. Clair Shores resident. "And wish there was more we could do more than just pray for the family but that is all we can do right now."
His life was lived for others - and it showed.
"Ken was a superhero," said Pastor Michael Bugarin. "He tried to do everything he could to make the world a better place."
Likely no one felt that more than his two sons, Alexander and William, whom he would walk to school every day, When he was in the hospital attempting to recover from the gunshot that ultimately led to his death, his partners picked up where he left off.
"They took those kids by the hand, walked down the street. stood in line while (Steil's wife) Joann was receiving the support of so many people," said Bugarin.
It left the boys with a lasting message that should resonate with everyone.
"I want you to go into that school and learn to be a superhero like your dad," Bugarin said.
Those boys would in turn provide just a slight moment of levity while waiting to accompany their dad's casket to the cemetery - learning how the sirens of a police work.
And lastly, Police Chief James Craig rewarded a superhero effort with a promotion - no longer Sgt. Kenneth Steil, now Capt. Kenneth Steil.
"Thank you for sharing Kenny with us," Craig said. "We are better because of it."