INDIANAPOLIS -

Thousands from all over Indiana and across the country gathered in downtown Indianapolis to pay their respects to slain police officer Rod Bradway.

Bradway, 41, was a Nappanee native and 1991 NorthWood High School graduate. His funeral was held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis.

Many at the service called the officer a hero, saying he gave his life to save others.

Bradway died last Friday while responding to a domestic disturbance call. Police say he kicked in a door after hearing a woman screaming for help. 24-year-old Steven Byrdo had been holding the woman at gunpoint for three hours inside the apartment in the Eagle Point Apartment complex on Indy's northwest side.

As Bradway entered the apartment, Byrdo hid behind the door and opened fire on Bradway.

Byrdo was later shot by officers.

The woman and a small child, who was also inside the apartment, were unharmed.

"This magnificent act of love and kindness allows the mother to continue nurturing her child," said Rick Hite, chief of the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department.

Gov. Mike Pence called Thursday a day of mourning and gratitude for the entire state of Indiana.

"This city, this state owe a debt of honor to Officer Bradway and his family that we will never fully repay," Pence said.

After exiting the stage, Pence embraced Bradway's wife Jamie, his 15-year-old son Jonathan and 13-year-old daughter Sierra.

The teenagers are members of the Decatur Central High School marching band. Their fellow band members played two numbers at the ceremony.

Those close to him remember Bradway as a family man, animal rescuer, scuba diver and sports lover.

Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson recalled Bradway's famous game-winning 50-yard field goal against NorthWood's football rival, Warsaw.

"You guessed it. He nailed it," Thompson said. "We will always remember that in our city."

The funeral procession, led by more than 1,000 police cars, made two stops: one at the Wayne Township Fire Dept, where Bradway worked as a firefighter and EMT for four years, and another at the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department's northwest division, where he had served as an officer for the last five years.

Bradway was a highly decorated officer. He was awarded the Medal of Bravery in 2011 for taking an armed suicidal subject into custody.

Chief Hite gave Bradway the department's most esteemed award, the Medal of Honor, on Wednesday during a public viewing.

Bradway's parents Tom and Sheri still live in Nappanee. He had made it a point to visit them regularly.

Thompson said Nappanee will always be home to the memory of Officer Ron Bradway.

"His name, service and who he was, and what he stood for will be etched in our minds and in our hearts forever," Thompson said.

Bradway was buried in the Crown Hill Cemetery's Heroes of Public Safety section.