Thousands gather for memorial service for fallen SJPD motorcycle officer

Thousands gathered Tuesday at SAP Center in downtown San Jose for a memorial service to honor Officer Michael Katherman, who was killed in a collision one week ago today.

A motorcade arrived to the arena at 10:27 a.m. after a roughly 12-mile trip from the Darling & Fischer Chapel of the Hills funeral home in Los Gatos.

Hundreds of officers in uniformed officers stood in two long rows as the procession arrived. Behind the hearse carrying Katherman, more officers came in police motorcycles flashing red and blue lights.

Two San Jose fire trucks extended their ladders to hold an American flag outside the center's entrance at West Santa Clara and South Autumn streets.

Katherman, 34, was fatally struck by a minivan about 3 miles away from the arena at North 10th and Horning streets on June 14.

Katherman was on a police motorcycle heading north and was hit by the minivan as it was making a left turn to Horning Street. The driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation, police said.

Katherman was an 11-year veteran of the department who leaves behind his wife, April, and two children, Josh and Jason.

About a dozen flower arrangements, including one that read Katherman's badge number 3900, were placed on and around the stage inside the arena.

Pictures of Katherman through the years were displayed on the Jumbotron.

The ceremony began at 11:13 a.m. with an honor guard playing bagpipes followed by Katherman's casket and family.

Officer honored

At today's service, San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia talked about what he learned about the officer in the past week.

The chief said he didn't personally know Katherman, but called him an "exceptional cop and an even better man."

Through conversations with Katherman's friends and family, Garcia said he learned the officer had a "zest for life," sense of humor and strong Christian faith.

"He was the ultimate partner and you knew you would be safe with him," Garcia said.

After the service, a procession will take place through Interstate Highway 280 and U.S. Highway 101 to a Gilroy cemetery.