Fellow officers bid farewell to slain comrade

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - More than 1,000 police officers from across Ohio and surrounding states bid farewell Saturday to a Youngstown patrolman shot and killed in the line of duty.

About 500 cruisers arrived for the funeral Mass of Patrolman Michael Hartzell, 26, who was killed early Tuesday when he stopped to check a vehicle while investigating a tavern shooting.

Hartzell was buried at Resurrection Cemetery following the service at St. Christine Roman Catholic Church. Loudspeakers were set up outside the 1,200-seat church for the overflow crowd.

Hartzell's brother, Kevin, of nearby Austintown, told the crowd his brother will always be remembered for his sense of humor and his dedication to serving as an officer.

The Rev. David Rhodes, pastor of the church, urged people to keep Hartzell in their hearts and minds, while searching for happiness following the tragedy.

Martin L. Koliser Jr., a recently released ex-convict from the Youngstown area, was arrested Wednesday in Palm Harbor, Fla., in the officer's death. Police said they traced Koliser through tips and calls he made to the St. Petersburg, Fla., area.

Hartzell was shot while checking the license plate of a car parked downtown. He was investigating the wounding of a man in a bar. The suspect left the car and fired.

Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said he wanted to take the case, which could lead to the death penalty, directly to a grand jury within a week.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)