Hundreds say goodbye to Syracuse police officer Michael Jensen, a ‘goofball’ and ‘hero’

Central New York is the midst of mourning two law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last week in the Syracuse suburb of Liverpool.

Under a sun splashed blue sky with rain falling heavily at times, the sound of bagpipes accompanied the casket of Syracuse police officer Michael Jensen as he was brought to the St. John the Baptist Church in Rome Saturday for his funeral service.

Syracuse police officer Michael Jensen

Syracuse Police Department

Syracuse police officer Michael Jensen

Hundreds of police officers from all over the state, and from the Northeast, lined up in dress blues, at attention, and paid their final respects to an officer killed in a shootout last weekend. A number of state, local and federal officials attended the funeral as well, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James, and central New York Rep. Brandon Williams.

Father Paul Angelicchio presided over the funeral mass, taking time to thank all first responders that filled the church for their bravery.

“As a community here, we thank you and I know Michael would want us to do that today,” said Angelicchio. “So I ask you to join with me, all of you here, to give our police officers a round of applause on behalf of Michael.”

Family and friends remembered Jensen, a member of the Syracuse Police Department for more than two years, as a goofball, and prankster. But also as caring and kind. There were stories of hidden tattoos, girlfriends, hockey mishaps, beach rescues, and a person who was just a good friend. His mother Michelle closely mentioned the last time she communicated with her son.

“I was incredibly lucky because I got to be Michael’s mother for what would be 29 very beautiful years,” she said. And Michael got to be my handsome son, which is what I always called him, ‘Michael Jensen, my handsome son.’ God bless you.”

Jensen, along with Onondaga County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Hoosock, were shot to death by a gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle in a quiet suburban neighborhood on the evening of April 14. Syracuse Police Captain Dave Metz, Jensen’s commanding officer, reviewed the police bodycam footage from that fateful night, calling Jensen the epitome of a hero.

“What I watched Michael do on that day was one of the most heroic things that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The most heroic thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said Metz. “Michael’s actions that day saved countless lives, including some of the people who are in this room today. The bravery and the courage he displayed was something that is truly remarkable, truly remarkable.”

The funeral for Hoosock will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the New York State Fairgrounds.