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New Haven officer killed in Las Vegas crash laid to rest

NEW HAVEN (AP) — A 35-year-old Connecticut police officer killed when his colleague crashed a car while allegedly driving under the influence in Las Vegas was laid to rest Friday and remembered as a dedicated and respected cop with a passion for the job.

Funeral and burial services were held for Joshua Castellano, a seven-year member of New Haven police who lived in Branford.

Dozens of police officers joined family and friends for the funeral at St. Mary Parish in New Haven after a procession of officers on motorcycles escorted a hearse carrying his coffin to the church. Burial followed at a New Haven cemetery.

Officer Jeremy Mastroianni said a tearful goodbye to his partner and best friend during a speech at the church service. Castellano, who was fast on his feet and could run down any suspect, was to have been his best man at his wedding next year, he said.

“You were the coolest kid I ever met,” he said. "Through all the runnin’ and gunnin’, the jokes and laughing, you had my back no matter what. You were loyal to a fault. I’d follow you into the darkest, pitch-black corners of the city and I felt good because I was with you.”

Castellano's relatives did not give speeches at the service.

Castellano was killed in the Sept. 17 crash as he and other New Haven officers were vacationing in Las Vegas. A fellow officer and good friend who was driving the rented Rolls Royce, Robert Ferraro, was charged with felony driving under the influence. Ferraro, two other New Haven officers and two women who were also in the car suffered minor injuries, police said.

Ferraro posted $100,000 bail and was freed Thursday with plans to return to Connecticut while his case is pending, his lawyer said. New Haven police placed him on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

Acting New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez said department personnel are devastated by Castellano's death. At the funeral, she said he was the type of officer that had “that thing, that thing we can't teach, that thing you are born with, that thing that makes good police officers great and great police officers exceptional.”

She said that “thing” was heart.

New Haven police released a statement by Castellano's family earlier in the week describing their “unimaginable heartbreak and grief.”

“Joshua approached his life and work with unmatched passion and excitement, and his genuine love for people was infectious,” the family said.

 

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