BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Police Department and the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association announced the passing away of Buffalo Police Officer Patricia "Patty" Parete Saturday.
Officer Parete passed away shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday morning in her home. She was 48.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said "We woke up this morning to very sad news. Patricia Parete was a brave and courageous officer. We have suffered a tremendous loss, not only this department, but our city and community as well".
Parete's life changed forever in December 2006 when shots fired by a teenager struck her and her police partner, Carl Andolina outside a downtown Buffalo mini-mart . Officer Andolina recovered however Parete was left partially paralyzed by her injuries.
Parete faced a long and difficult road to recovery, spending months in the hospital, and rehab in New Jersey.
The beloved police officer was known by friends, family, and fellow officers as a vibrant young woman who had everything taken away from her.
Lt. James Panus, the Buffalo PBA Predisent said, "What happened was a tragedy then, until now. We all had a sense of helpless about it, and the injury that put Patty in that position, and her condition. That hurt us. And right now, her suffering's over."
RELATED | Countless benefits helped raise money for Parete's ongoing recovery.
Funds were raised to build her a new, 2300-square-foot wheelchair accessible home in Pendleton. Parete's partner, Maryellen Opalinski, who is a registered nurse, provided her with around-the-clock care.
Lt. Panus said, "A while back, I went and saw her. And she was in good spirits, as good as can be. But she was also very frank with me about what happened to her, and her anger. But she still had the spirit, and the hope."
After learning of her death, local leaders expressed sadness including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown who said in a statement, "My first reaction upon hearing hearing the news of Officer Parete's passing was just total sadness. My thoughts, prayers and wishes are with her and her family at this time.
Castiglia Funeral Home is arranging Parete's funeral for Wednesday, February 6 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Avenue. For more information go to Book of Memories for Patty Parete.
Lt. Jim Panus tells us, the Police Benevolent Association is working with Parete's family, to honor their wishes.
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