Off-duty Lee's Summit officer laid to rest

Posted at 7:11 AM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 19:09:19-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. --Friends, family, students and fellow officers honored Lee's Summit police Officer Thomas Orr during his funeral Thursday morning at Abundant Life Church.

Orr died after a man in an argument outside a Westport restaurant drew a gun and opened fire.

Kansas City police said Orr was an innocent bystander, off-duty and enjoying the entertainment district at the time of the shooting. The shooter hit Orr and another woman, injuring her, before making his getaway in a nearby vehicle.

Police have made no arrests in the case. 

KCPD said roughly 200 people were at the restaurant during Sunday's shooting, but only a handful have shared information. Investigators want anyone with tips about the shooter to call 816-474-8477.

Thomas Orr laid to rest

Thursday, a fleet of police squad cars led a procession with Orr's body from a funeral home in Kansas City to Abundant Life Church in Lee's Summit for his funeral. Family and friends celebrated Orr during a service.

“He had this amazing, infectious, charismatic smile that never seemed to leave his face,” explained Sgt. Chris Depue, who hired Orr in March 2015.

Friends tell 41 Action News Orr became a police officer in the hopes of serving as a good example for the young kids in his community. 

He was doing that as a school resource officer at Campbell Middle School until the day he died.

“He was young, he was full of life,” said Depue. “He saw the good in everyone. You couldn't go anywhere and not have a good time with him. He was always laughing and joking. I think he was a kid himself.”

During Thursday's service, students and staff presented a picture frame to the Orr family with photos of their beloved son alongside a Campbell shirt. 

Another tribute came from Orr's fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. Seventy brothers performed a special memorial service for the fallen officer on Thursday.

Orr is originally from Chicago, and his family plans to bury him there.

Friends, family remember Thomas Orr

Since his death, friends have described Orr as genuine, loving and radiant. They said he made the most of life by traveling and becoming friends with everyone he could.

"One of the things I remember the most is his hugs," said Ashlie Cofield, a friend who met Orr at Lincoln College in Jefferson City.

The two hung out at Californos Sunday evening moments before the deadly shooting.

"It was just scary for me to even learn that it happened after I left," Cofield explained.

She remembers the first time they met eyes in college. It was on the steps of the library. Orr was there with his fraternity, Cofield was new to campus. She said the pair dated briefly.

"He loved people," she said. "I remember when I would just stand by him at these events and he could literally talk to anybody that comes up to him. Or anybody that went by him. Somehow he would end up having a conversation with anybody. And they were always just really genuine."

Thomas Orr's impact on his community

A spokesperson said the 30-year-old started at the Lee's Summit police department in March of 2015. He was assigned to Bernard Campbell Middle School as a school resource officer.

Cofield hurts for the students who just got to know him over the first three days of the new school year.

"He just shared himself with everybody. The kids at Campbell; they just met him, and for those kids to not have him come back and not understand what was going on," said Cofield. "I was even thinking, what in the world would the teachers even tell them?"

Cofield hopes for justice.

"Although of course we can't bring him back, I know it would bring a little peace to his family to know that the person was found and he's put to be accountable for the event," she said.

An organization named Answering the Call set up a fund to collect donations for Orr's family. You can make a contribution at one of the following branches of the Greater Kansas City Public Safety Credit Union.

Main Branch:
2800 E. 14th Street
Kansas City, MO 64127

North Branch:
8320 North Brighton
Kansas City, MO 64119

East Branch:
19341 E US 40 Hwy, Ste A
Independence, MO 64055

South Branch:
9701 Marion Park Drive
Kansas City, MO 64137

Lee's Summit MO Police Department
10 NE Tudor Road
Lee's Summit, MO 64086