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Late officer Parete honored by State Senate

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Buffalo Police officer Patricia Parete was honored by the state senators in Albany today, who rose in a moment of silence for the late law enforcer. Parete died over the weekend at the age of 48.  She and her partner Carl Andolina were wounded by gunfire while responding to a call in downtown Buffalo in December of 2006.  The shooter, Varner Harris Jr., who was 19 at the time, is serving 30 years-to-life in prison. 

Parete suffered a spinal injury and was paralyzed from the neck down. Her exact cause of death has not been disclosed.

State Senator Tim Kennedy, speaking on the Senate floor late Tuesday morning, said the sacrifices made by law enforcement officers on a daily basis can not be understated.  

"Patty Parete and her brothers and sisters in law enforcement make our communities safer. They give their all to protect our families. In Officer Parete's case, she gave her life. She made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety of Buffalo and the residents of New York State. We remember her today and we thank her and her family for her brace and courageous service," Kennedy said.

Senators Patrick Gallivan, Mark Grisanti, and George Maziarz also offered words of appreciation for Officer Parete and condolences to her loved ones.  Following the tributes, the Senate chamber stood in a moment of silence for the late officer. 

Parete's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church.  The service is open to the public, though seating is limited. Parete will be honored with a 21-gun salute. Buffalo Fire Department officials will drape an American flag across Delaware Avenue at Tupper Street.

Meanwhile, Parete's death has now officially been ruled a homicide. The classification was issued today by the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office. It is now up to Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III to decide whether Varner Harris should be charged with first-degree murder for causing Parete's death.

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