(Nashville, TN) A Nashville police officer killed in the line of duty will be buried in his hometown of Germantown. His family is preparing for a funeral after a deadly accident on Saturday.
Michael Petrina was only 25 years old. His family said since he was a little boy, all he wanted to do was become a police officer. This weekend, they said he died doing what he loved to do: serving the community.
"He was my little brother, but he was my Mikey. He was my hero," said Anthony Petrina.
You could feel the pain and heartbreak Anthony Petrina is going through. His little brother, Michael, was struck and killed by a motor-home while trying to direct traffic on Interstate 65 in Nashville on Saturday.
"He was helping someone. He was doing what he did," Anthony said.
Michael just joined the Nashville police force a few months ago.
Before that, he was a University of Memphis student and a member of the Tennessee National Guard.
"He was just getting started. I mean, all his life he was Army Man Mike," Anthony said. "Michael embodied everything you want."
Friends and family said Michael was selfless and caring. He worked with World War II veterans. He loved his country. He was going to be the best man in his brother's wedding this September.
His brother said he learned a lot from him, and if he could see him again, he would tell him "thank you, and I love him."
He said his little brother would have made a difference in this world.
Family members said the visitation will be held at Memorial Park this Wednesday, and the funeral at Our Lady Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Germantown on Thursday.
They expect hundreds of people from across the country to attend because Michael touched so many lives. The visitation is open to the public, but the family wants to keep the funeral to close friends and family.
The family said Memphis Police, Metro Police and the National Guard are working out details on how to honor Michael. They hope to have those details tomorrow.
In University of Memphis's next Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice news letter, Michael Petrina's professor K.B. Turner will honor him with this statement:
"Michael Petrina graduated from the police academy last September. He also served as an officer in the Tennessee National Guard. On behalf of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, I join others in extending our condolences to the family and loved ones of Michael Petrina. I, along with other CJ professors were fortunate enough to have taught him in our program. What I remember most about him was his sincerity and level of respect toward others. He would often chat with me about his classes and his future plans to be a military officer and a law enforcement officer. I will always remember the talks we had."
In Michael's short law enforcement career, he received an award for his spirit and drive from his peers at the police academy.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean issued the following statement:
"Michael wanted to dedicate his life to public service, and we are fortunate he chose to serve in Nashville. In his short career with Metro Police, Michael's positive attitude and encouraging nature earned him the admiration of his graduating class, as evidenced by the Christy Dedman Spirit Award they bestowed on him last year. On behalf of the entire city, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Michael's family, friends and fellow officers. We thank them for sharing such a wonderful young man with us. This loss is a tragedy for our Police Department and our entire city."