A fundraiser to support a fallen Pearland police officer’s family drew a seemingly unending line of cars early Saturday morning. So many donations poured into the Grazia Italian Kitchen, organizers were still tallying up the amount that evening, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Officer Endy Ekpanya’s family.
Ekpanya was killed in the line of duty last Sunday when he was hit by a suspected drunk driver while on the way to a non-emergency call. He leaves behind a two-year-old son and a fiancée, who told Eyewitness News she needs continuing prayers.
“We’ve been sharing stories in the halls, anytime we get together. You remember that time he did this?” said Lt. Onesimo Lopez, about how officers are coping with his death. “That helps keep his memory alive but also helps us with the healing.”
Fellow first responders are showing their unity with the Pearland Police Department. Ron Lee, who is an officer with the UT police in the Texas Medical Center, stopped by a still-growing memorial outside the Pearland police building. An empty police car sits draped in black, covered with flowers, stuffed animals and handwritten notes.
“We would love to be able to do this for all law enforcement and I know they would do the same for us,” Lee said.
Lopez said the memorial is a daily source of strength for officers.
“I was out here one time just looking at the display and had a family stop. They put flowers on there and came over and gave me a hug. That was just awesome. It’s been overwhelming,” he said.
A public viewing for Officer Ekpanya is scheduled for Monday, June 20 from 5-8pm. and there will be a celebration of his life on June 21 at Grace Community Church at 14505 Gulf Freeway, Houston, TX, 77034. Following the service, the Pearland Police department and all public safety agencies will be able to attend the procession from the church north on I-45 to Beltway 8. The procession will continue west on the Beltway to Pearland Parkway, where it will turn south and head to E. Broadway/FM 518.
The procession will then travel west on Broadway to Main/SH 35, where it will then travel north to the cemetery.
A graveside service for his family and brothers and sisters in public service will be held at South Park Cemetery, 1310 N. Main, Pearland, TX 77581.