Thousands honor fallen officer during memorial service

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Family, friends, colleagues, and community members gathered to pay their respects to MPD officer Martoiya Lang, who lost her life in the line of duty one week ago today.

The memorial service, which was held at Hope Presbyterian Church, lasted about two hours as choirs sang tributes and coworkers and public officials recalled Lang's service to the City of Memphis.

"Lang strived to be the best, she did not shy away from challenge - but instead, insisted on the biggest challenge," said the OCU team six commander Lt. Frank Winston.

Winston said that Lang will be remembered for her ethics and her dedication to her girls.

"She left four children, including a newborn - when she went to work for the last time a week ago today. Those children are ours now," said Mayor A C Wharton during the service.

Memphis Police Department director Toney Armstrong stepped up to the podium and thanked law enforcement officers who traveled near and far to join in solidarity.

"You now understand the devastating loss an officer can have not just in the enforcement, but on the entire city," said Armstrong.

Armstrong said calls and emails of sympathy and concern are still pouring into the department.

Along with sharing that President Obama mentioned Lang's shooting recently in a national address, he said Lang's death has touched the lives of Memphians and communities around the world.

Armstrong shared that he went to visit with Lang's mother the night of the shooting.

"I visited to offer her comfort, but the roles were soon reversed...she said "I'm not trying to make sense of it, I'm not confused, she returned to God, and I'm glad I had 32 years with her,'" said Armstrong.

That evening, Armstrong said he went home and was greeted by his own daughter, and that is when it hit him the hardest that Lang's four daughters would never have the opportunity to kiss their mother again.

"She woke up December 14, just as she's done before - and kissed her girls goodbye," said Armstrong.

Armstrong said that Lang could have opted out of the assignment, because the risk was too great and she had children.  But he said Lang was dedicated to the oath she took along with every other officer.

"She was an elite officer, a fighter to the end," said Lang.

Armstrong assured Lang's daughters that their mother did not die in vain.

"She is now, and will forever remain our 'shero.' Thank you for the nine years of dedication," said Armstrong

Armstrong also asked for a round of applause for officer William Vrooman, and wished him a speedy recovery.

After the service ended, there was a procession to the Memorial Park Southwoods Cemetery.

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