Hundreds of gathered at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday morning, to remember the life of Capt. Robert “Dave” Melton, who was shot and killed pursuing a suspect Tuesday.
Family members described Melton as tough, dedicated, and caring. He leaves behind six children and stepchildren, as well as a unborn baby girl.
Fellow officers said he was proud of his military career, and was always professional. Melton served in Iraq and Afghanistan and received a Bronze Star Award for his service.
Scott Kirkpatrick, president of the Fraternal Order of Police said Melton had a bright future ahead of him.
“Dave Melton was a leader. Without a doubt in my mind, Dave was going to continue to climb the ranks of the department due to his leadership ability.”
He says that leadership is what brought Melton to the scene of the crime Tuesday, before anyone else. As a member of the command staff, Melton wasn't obligated to respond to the call.
Larry Melton, Robert's brother, told attendees that when he asked the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Terry Ziegler why his brother was there, Ziegler said Melton believed in "leading from the front."
And emotional Ziegler also shared his memories of Melton. He says he was always setting a good example for his colleagues and was looked up to among officers.
This was the second on-duty killing for the KCKPD in as many months. Detective Brad Lancaster was killed in May, Ziegler asked Melton to help plan a proper military funeral. Afterwards, he asked him to create a how-to manual for remembering a fallen officer.
Melton handed him the manual two weeks ago, and said, "Put it on the shelf, and hopefully we'll never have to use it again."
Fighting back tears, Ziegler recounted having to pull the manual off the shelf to guide him through the process of honoring its author.
Afterwards, the public was invited to join the funeral procession to Leavenworth National Cemetery.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and producer at KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter, @larodrig.