BLAIR, Neb. -- An Oklahoma police chief who spoke at the funeral of a 17-year-old Nebraska girl who died in a shootout with four of his officers said he has learned a powerful lesson about forgiveness after the girl's father invited him to the service.
Chief Johnny Teehee of Muskogee, Oklahoma, spoke Wednesday in Blair, Nebraska, at the funeral of 17-year-old Farrah Rauch.
She was shot to death in Muskogee on Feb. 28 after she fired at offices while running from an attempted carjacking, police said. Her 17-year-old boyfriend shot himself at the scene.
Four officers were placed on administrative leave during the investigation into the shooting.
Teehee said he had never been invited to speak at a victim's funeral in his 35-year law enforcement career.
Rauch also invited the four officers to the funeral, but Teehee said they “didn’t think they were ready to do this.”
He said Tuesday he invited the officers because they “were doing their jobs, they’re in pain and they had no idea that they were even teens,” The Omaha World-Herald reported.
“What is the message that we can take from this young life, that we can carry on from this point on and revert back to that?” Teehee asked. “To me that message is forgiveness.”
Steven Rauch told those attending the funeral that his daughter touched many people but was in a “dark cycle” when she was shot.