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Fallen police officers, firefighters remembered at Blue Mass

PHOENIX — Arizona police and firefighters who died in the past year were honored Thursday morning at a Blue Mass at St. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix.

The names of all of those who died were read, including those of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters who were killed battling the Yarnell Hill fire. Daryl Michael Raetz was one of the names that was read.

“Officer Daryl Raites was a Phoenix Police officer who proudly served in the Maryvale Precinct. He gave his life in the line of duty on May 19, 2013,” said Phoenix Police Commander Michael Kirtenbach, who read Raites’ name during ceremony.

Raetz, 29, was was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident. Jesus Cabrera Molina, 24, was charged with manslaughter in his death.

An honor guard with bagpipes was part of the ceremony. Phoenix Deputy Fire Chief Chris Ketterer said the annual mass is always meaningful to him, especially when he starts hearing those bagpipes.

“When I hear the pipes and drums, I’m really moved,” he said. “It sort of takes me to a special place where I can focus on the people that make the department special. Those are the people that have given, forgive the term, the ultimate sacrifice.”

During the service, Bishop Thomas Olmstead, head of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, prayed for Arizona officers and firefighters, asking God to “Keep danger far away from them.”

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