BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Family, friends, and the law enforcement community said goodbye to Mike DeNardo on Thursday. The former Bay St. Louis police chief died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound one week ago.
Those who gathered at Edmond Fahey Funeral Home in Bay St. Louis remembered DeNardo as a caring friend, and consummate law enforcement professional.
The 63-year-old was not only a veteran police officer, but also a military vet; having served in the United States Marine Corps.
"He was a well liked and soft spoken person," said Willie Acker. "Always willing to help."
Acker says Mike DeNardo was a close, and caring friend.
"I miss the conversation. I miss the endurance. I miss the helping hand that he always extended out to me and others," Acker recalled.
Before serving the Bay St. Louis Police Department, where he became chief in 2010, Mike DeNardo had a lengthy law enforcement career in St. Tammy Parish.
"The biggest thing I recall about working with Mike DeNardo was you never got excited. Keep your cool. Maintain your diplomacy, maintain your professionalism," said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Capt. Joseph Way.
"I know he started on the reserves and in '88 he went full time until he retired with St. Tammany Parish. Wound up being a SWAT commander. This guy was always sharp dressed, and we miss him. We're going to miss him. He was really, really a close friend," said Lt. Gary Ranatza, with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
The Patriot Guard joined dozens of police vehicles in providing an escort to the cemetery off Longfellow Road. A final graveside tribute included the traditional "last call" on the police radio.
DeNardo leaves behind a host of family and friends, along with the shock of how his life ended.
"Very much. There are many of us who are still reeling over it and trying to wrap our heads around it," said Capt. Way.