Officials salute during the memorial ceremony for Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III on Dec. 8 at Reservation Point, in San Pedro, Calif. (Brittany Murray / The Daily Breeze via the AP)
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LOS ANGELES — About 1,000 people attended a memorial Saturday for the Coast Guard petty officer who was killed off the California coast while chasing a vessel suspected of smuggling.
The seaside tribute to Senior Chief Petty Officer Terrel Horne at the Coast Guard's Los Angeles-Long Beach base included a 21-gun salute, military aircraft flyovers and speeches.
Horne died Dec. 2 after an inflatable boat he was on was struck by small, wooden boat running without lights near the Channel Islands, west of Los Angeles. He was the first law enforcement official to die since the smuggling of drugs and immigrants by boat began spiking along the California coast several years ago.
Authorities said Horne and another crewmember were thrown into the ocean and a propeller struck him in the head.
Two Mexican men — Jose Meija Leyva and Manuel Beltran Higuera — are charged with killing a federal officer while the officer was on duty.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called it a "tragic attack" and reminder of the dangers faced by the Coast Guard.
"He made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his shipmates and the nation, just as he served others throughout his 14 year career," Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp, Jr. told mourners. "Senior Chief Horne's legacy as a shipmate, leader, and Coast Guardsman is now indelibly stamped in our service history. And this nation is more secure because of him."
Horne, 34, is survived by his wife and two sons.