Officers participate in the changing of the Honor Guard during funeral services for fallen Indianapolis police officer Perry Renn, Friday, July 11, 2014, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Several city and state dignitaries are among those expected to speak during the funeral for Renn, who officials say died Saturday night after being shot three times by a man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger) NO SALES
The body of Perry Renn, an IMPD officer who was killed in the line of duty last weekend, is escorted into Bankers Life Fieldhouse prior to a memorial ceremony, Friday, July 11, 2014, in Indianapolis. Several city and state dignitaries are among those expected to speak during Friday's funeral for Renn, who officials say died Saturday night after being shot three times by a man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle. (AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Robert Scheer) NO SALES
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis police officer who died last weekend in a gun battle was an everyday hero, friends and officials said Friday at his funeral.
"We didn't really know him as an officer, we knew him as our friend," said Sabrina Young, who lived in the same subdivision as Officer Perry Renn. The 51-year-old former paratrooper died Saturday night after being shot three times by a man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle.
Young was among speakers, including Gov. Mike Pence, who spoke about Renn during a funeral held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the downtown arena that at happier times is home to the Indiana Pacers. Hundreds of police officers and spectators sat quietly in the stands and on the floor, where Renn's flag-draped coffin sat below a gigantic video screen showing photos from family vacations and Renn romping with his beloved dogs.
Outside, more than 1,000 police cars from across Indiana and other states waited to take part in the 11-mile funeral procession.
Police Chief Rick Hite said Renn saved several bystanders when he fired back at the suspect, critically wounding him.
"Heroes are not simply defined in moments of crisis, they are also defined in moments of quiet, silent dedication," Gov. Mike Pence said, adding that Renn was a caring individual, "something you don't see very often in the world anymore."
Renn also was remembered for helping with mundane chores, such as snow-blowing neighbors' driveways during winter.
"Rarely did we have a need for an officer in our neighborhood, but if we did, we knew he would be there," Young said.
The caring neighbor with a dangerous job was the latest casualty in a violent year in Indianapolis, where 72 homicides have happened in just over six months — a pace that could have 2014 rivaling 1998's record of 162 killings.
Officer Jeff Krider said his former partner was a perfectionist who could have traded the night shift for less dangerous daytime work, but chose not to do so. Even on duty, Krider said, Renn's kinder side stood out as he stopped to feed stray dogs and cats.
Hite said Renn was simply following his training Saturday night upon responding to a call of shots being fired on the city's north side. Major Davis Jr., 25, has been charged with murder and as of Thursday, was still hospitalized Thursday recovering from his own gunshot wounds.
"We will continue to fight the good fight for (Renn), and continue to make this place a safer place," Hite said.
Follow Charles D. Wilson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_cdwilson